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Terminology relating to a Power of Attorney

27 September 2019

Lauren Smith

Making a Power of Attorney is essential to ensure that you are as prepared and protected as possible for the future.

However, it is essential to ensure that you understand the ‘legal jargon’ used when making such a document to ensure that you are doing the right thing.

Here we explain some of the most common terms used in a Power of Attorney:


Donor  - This is the person making the Power of Attorney and giving the authority for someone else to act on their behalf

Attorney – This is the person who is given the authority to act on behalf of the Donor

Certificate Provider – This is someone who is able to verify that the Donor has the required mental capacity to enter into the Power of Attorney. They have to meet certain conditions to take on this role.

Joint attorneys – This is where the attorneys must make all decisions together. This can render the document useless if one attorney becomes ill, is out of the country, loses mental capacity or dies

Joint and Several attorneys – This is where you appoint more than one attorney and stipulate that they can act together or independently

Replacement attorneys – These attorneys step in to act in the event that your initial attorneys can no longer permanently act. How they step in depends on your wording of the Power of Attorney.

Office of the Public Guardian – This is the Court that has to approve the document before it can be used.


It is essential to ensure you take professional advice when making a Power of Attorney as you may unwittingly be giving away authority that you didn’t realise, in a way that you didn’t want to.


For help and advice about Power of Attorneys please do contact Lauren Smith – Partner and Head of Wills, Probate and Trusts on 0114 272 1884 or email