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16 November 2023

Power of attorney for buying and selling property in the UK

A power of attorney is a useful document for carrying out activities in the UK, such as buying and selling property. We will tell you all there is to know about them, and why you might need one.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Power of attorney for buying and selling property

What is a power of attorney?

Before you get one, you should understand what a power of attorney is. 

The power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to assign ‘attorneys’ who carry out your will, on your behalf. The title of the person who gives the power of attorney is the ‘donor.’

Situations that can apply to a power of attorney for buying and selling property in the UK include: 

  • If you will not be able to make your own decisions in the future due to ‘lacking mental capacity’; health issues such as a recent accident or illness can result in this
  • You decide that you do not want to make decisions in a certain circumstance

Powers of attorney can be used in other situations, but we are focussing on buying and selling property in this guide.

They can also be certified by a Notary Public, such as us, to prove it is genuine. We will discuss this in more detail further on.

What are the different types of power of attorney for buying and selling property in the UK?

There are two types of powers of attorney; however, you can set up more than one at once.

Ordinary power of attorney – this is usually for financial affairs, and is only valid while you have mental capacity. It is also a temporary power of attorney, and is usually used if you are unavailable or just want someone else to act on your behalf.

Lasting power of attorney (LPA) – this can be used in a broad range of circumstances, including issues related to health or finances. The LPA is for use in the future, as it comes into effect when you lose mental capacity, or decide you no longer want to make your own decisions.

You may also see a third type mentioned, the enduring power of attorney. They were replaced in 2007 by the LPA, so while some may be in effect, they are no longer made. You do not need to consider it as an option for buying and selling property.

What can an attorney do regarding property and finances?

For an ordinary power of attorney, you can temporarily grant someone such as a solicitor or an estate agent to sell your property. You may do this if you are moving elsewhere, such as overseas, and do not want to deal with the sale yourself. 

With a lasting power of attorney however, you will be able to do much more, particularly as you will be empowered for a longer period of time.

The list of things you may be able to do with an LPA for property and finances include:

  • Buy property
  • Sell property
  • Manage bank accounts
  • Manage money, bills and taxes
  • Paying the mortgage
  • Oversee investments
  • Claim the donor’s pensions and benefits on their behalf
  • Purchase items for the donor

What the attorney can and cannot do will depend on what has been outlined in the power of attorney.

Setting up a power of attorney for buying and selling property

To have a power of attorney created, you must be aged 18 or over, and have the mental capacity to make your own choices. 

Powers of attorney can be created online, using the Government’s online service for creating lasting powers of attorney. You will need to create an account to use this service.

Alternatively, we can assist you with the drafting of your power of attorney by guiding you through each step.

1. Appointing your attorneys

Anyone you name to be your attorneys must be 18 or over, with the mental capacity to make their own decisions.

If you appoint more than one attorney, you must decide how they make decisions. 

Your options are: 

  • Attorneys can make their decisions jointly, or individually
  • Your attorneys can only make decisions jointly, so they must come to an agreement

2. Notifying your attorneys

Once you have drafted your LPA, you must notify the people you have chosen to be your attorneys by sending a form called ‘form to notify people.’ 

They have three weeks to notify the Office of the Public Guardian of any issues they may have.

3. Registering your power of attorney

Once you have notified your attorneys, your power of attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It costs £82 to register each individual LPA, and you must complete a form provided by the office; you must send the form by post.

If you earn less than £12,000 a year, you may be able to get a reduction in the cost you must pay.

It can take up to 20 weeks for the LPA to be registered, if everything is correct.

Buying and selling property as an attorney

With the powers you will be given, you can both buy and sell property on behalf of the donor who empowered you. 

If you are selling their home, you will first need to discuss where they will live with whoever else has been appointed as their health and welfare attorney. This attorney will have a separate power of attorney related to the actions they can take.

You will also need to prove that the sale of their home is in the best interest of the donor.

A second ‘trustee’ must be appointed if you are the only attorney, so that you meet the requirements for selling property. 

Also, before you sell the property, you will need to provide the conveyancing solicitor you use to buy or sell property with the original, or a certified copy of the power of attorney.

Keep in mind that the attorney should keep a record of any purchases or sales they make, as well as the date they took place on. You should include further details on

Managing the donor’s bank account with a power of attorney

If the power of attorney allows you to manage the bank account of the donor, you will need to show proof of this to their bank. If you do not show any proof, the bank will not let you access the donor’s bank account.

You will need:

  • The original, or a certified copy of the power of attorney; we can certify copies at Woodcock Notary Public
  • Proof of your name
  • Proof of your address
  • The donor’s name or address if it is different to the one on the bank account

This will be necessary if you plan on buying or selling property using the funds of the donor.

How we can help you

As a Notary Public, we are capable of certifying any copy you make of your original power of attorney. 

We can also help you with drafting your power of attorney for buying and selling property, so you do not have to worry about doing it yourself.

If you plan on using a power of attorney overseas, we can also notarise your power of attorney for you. This is a requirement for using one overseas, and only a Notary Public can notarise documents.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your notarial needs and see how we can help you.


If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 (free to call) or email

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 (free to call) or email