Nobody likes to imagine the possibility of being unable to act for themselves, either through illness or personal accident, or just simply by getting older, however there may come a time in your life where you need some help dealing with complicated situations. Setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA) while you're fit and well is a wise precaution to take.

An LPA is a legal document managed by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), that lets someone (known as a ‘donor’) appoint people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions on their behalf. This can apply to financial decisions or health and care decisions and can help take the stress out of what can be a difficult and traumatic time by enabling your ‘attorneys’ to act on your behalf if you become unable to make your own decisions. For example, appointing a LPA would allow us to give your attorneys access to your savings and accounts with us if you were no longer in a position to do this yourself.

Managing your account

If you chose to have more than one attorney then you will need to decide how you want your attorney's to act on your behalf. There are two ways in which your attorney's can act:

Jointly and Severally: If you have your attorneys set up to act jointly and severally, each attorney will be able to manage your account individually without consulting with others.

Jointly: If you have your attorneys set up to act jointly then all attorneys will need to sign when managing your account.

You can create your own LPA, all the forms you will need are available by visiting the OPG page on the Government website. If you are unsure of the process you can consult a professional will writer or solicitor however, you will have to pay costs for their time.

However you choose to create your LPA, you should register them immediately with the OPG. The registration process can take up to 14 weeks to complete and costs £110 for each LPA.

Notifying us

Once you have registered a Power of Attorney you will need to let us know. We will need:

  • The original Power of Attorney document.
  • Two forms of original identification for your chosen attorney, one of which will need to have a signature on it.

If you notify us of your power of attorney through the post we will need an additional two pieces of original identification to be sent to us.

When we have set up your power of attorney, your chosen attorney will be able to manage your account moving forward. The Building Societies Association has developed a guide on managing a bank account for someone else, which may be useful to give to your attorney.

Making a will

Making a will allows you to put into writing what you want to happen to your belongings when you pass away. It is important to make a will and review it regularly. If you don’t, and a suitable heir isn’t found when you pass away, the Government is entitled to keep all of your possessions.

You can make a will by visiting a solicitor or, if you are comfortable with the process then packaged wills are available for you to buy and complete yourself, however these are only recommended if your estate is simple.