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Power of attorney – Frequently Asked Questions

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Understanding power of attorney

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints one or more people (your attorneys) to make decisions for you (the donor).

Can I appoint more than one attorney?

Yes. If you appoint more than one attorney, you must specify whether they are to act 'jointly' (ie together) or 'jointly and severally' (ie together or individually). If you appoint your attorneys to act 'jointly' this means that they won't be able to access phone banking, online banking, mobile banking and they won't be able to have a debit card. 

What happens if I appoint a solicitor or a firm as an attorney?

The same process applies as if an individual has been appointed.

What is a Court of Protection order?

A Court of Protection order can be issued when someone loses mental capacity and there is no lasting power of attorney or enduring power of attorney in existence. Further information can be found at GOV.UK.

What is a deputy?

A deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of someone who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. Further information can be found at GOV.UK.

Registering power of attorney with HSBC

Who can register a power of attorney online?

You can register your power of attorney or Court of Protection order using our online form if:

  • you’re the sole attorney or deputy and you have an HSBC account
  • the donor or person covered by a Court of Protection order is an HSBC customer with a bank account or credit card
  • you’re registering a lasting power of attorney, ordinary (general) power of attorney, enduring power of attorney, Scottish powers, Northern Ireland enduring powers or a Court of Protection order

Please go to our Power of attorney registration page for more information.

What documents will I need to register a power of attorney?

We will need to see the full power of attorney document – either the original, or a copy which has been certified, (see Important documents). We will also need to see suitable documents for identification and address verification. If multiple attorneys are appointed to act 'jointly', every attorney will need to provide suitable identification and address verification. For a list of acceptable documents, please see our Help us identify you page.

How long does it take to register a Power of Attorney with HSBC?

Once we have all of the information we need, the power of attorney will be set up within 10 working days.

How do I access online and mobile banking?

You can apply for online banking in one of our branches once the power of attorney has been updated in our records and you have been issued with a Telephone Security Number. For further information about mobile banking, please see our mobile banking page.

Please note: Online banking access can only be granted to one party at a time (either donor or attorney). Online and mobile banking cannot be provided if you have a general power of attorney.

How do I access phone banking?

If phone access is requested when the power of attorney is registered with us, a letter and phone banking pack will be sent out to the attorney in the post, which explains how to register for phone access. Once you are registered, and when you call us, if you're the attorney, you will need to key in the donor's sort code and account number. Then when you are prompted, key in your own date of birth, and digits from your own Telephone Security Number.

Where can I register my Secure Digital Access code for my power of attorney?

Please follow the steps here to register your code with HSBC.

How will I know when the power of attorney is registered with HSBC?

A confirmation letter will be issued to the donor (where the donor is mentally capable) or the 'main' attorney (where the donor is mentally incapable).

How do I get my documents certified if I live in the UK?

First of all, you'll need to ask a professional person to certify your documents.

Next, ask your chosen certifier to write this on the document they are certifying:

I [full name of certifier] confirm this is an accurate copy of the original.

They should also write:

  • their signature and full name, printed on the document
  • their occupation, company (or professional) address and phone number
  • their professional registration number (if they have one)
  • the date of certification

How do I get my documents certified if I live overseas?

You'll need to contact one of the following:

  • your local bank and ask them to certify your documents. Explain that you are asking because you are resident in a country or region of equivalent jurisdiction to the UK. (If you're unsure whether your country/region of residence is of equivalent jurisdiction to the UK please get in touch with our team on 03457 404 404. If you are a Premier customer, please call 03457 70 70 70
  • the UK Embassy or Consulate where a certification service is provided. For information visit GOV.UK
  • contact a lawyer, solicitor or barrister in your country/region of residence listed on or one from the list provided by the UK Embassy

Next, ask your chosen certifier to write this on the document they are certifying:

A. For your documents that contain a photo:

I [full name of certifier] confirm that this is an accurate copy of the original and the photo is a true likeness of the person concerned.

B. For your documents that don't contain a photo:

I [full name of certifier] confirm this is an accurate copy of the original.

They should also write:

  • their signature and full name, printed on the document
  • their occupation, company (or professional) address and phone number
  • their professional registration number (if they have one)
  • the date of certification

I live in Europe and I'm applying from outside the UK. How can I certify my documents?

Ask one of the possible certifiers below to write the relevant statement on each of the documents they verify, if any of the documents are more than one page long ask the certifier to write the statement on the first page and sign any subsequent page.

We can only accept the following certifiers, they must be registered, active and based within the EU; financial institutions, lawyers, solicitors and notaries.

Next, ask your chosen certifier to write this on the document they are certifying:

For documents that contain a photo:

I (full name of certifier) confirm that this is an accurate copy of the original and the photo is a true reflection of the applicant.

For documents that don't contain a photo:

I (full name of certifier) confirm that this is a true copy of the original document for (full name of customer).

Each document must also include:

  • certifier's signature and full name, they need to sign as an individual not a company
  • certifier's occupation, company, professional address and phone number, ideally on letter headed paper
  • certifier's professional registration number if they have one
  • date of certification

 It is important each document contains this information as without it we may not be able to accept them. The person signing the document must be active in the profession and can't be a relative, friend or someone who lives at your address. We may contact them for verification.

Please remember your documents must:

  • be a certified true copy
  • be in English or a certified translation to English
  • certification and translation must be completed by the same person
  • date of certification must be within the last three months
  • not be an online or branch print out
  • show your full name (not initials) and address matching your application

The same document cannot be used twice to verify identify and address, so separate documents must be used to meet the regulations and the HSBC criteria.

Troubleshooting and more help

I'm having trouble activating my new debit card. What should I do?

When you call to activate your card, please enter the donor’s date of birth and not your own to complete the activation.

What happens if the donor becomes mentally incapable?

Some types of power of attorney remain valid if the donor becomes mentally incapable. Please see our Types of power of attorney page for further information. For further information on mental capacity please refer to our Mental capacity section.

What happens if the donor dies?

The power is revoked (cancelled) and the attorney’s authority is cancelled.

What if the power of attorney is a foreign power?

Any decision to accept a foreign power of attorney is taken on a 'case by case' basis.

What happens if the power of attorney document contains restrictions?

We need to comply with restrictions which are stated in the power which may mean that your attorneys cannot access all of our services (such as telephone banking, online banking, mobile banking, debit card). It may take longer to register with us because we may need additional information.

What happens if my replacement attorney needs to act?

Please refer to the Office of the Public Guardian for further guidance.

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