Disclosure of Information: Power of attorney
Power of attorney and lawful authority to disclose information
Where an individual is unable to directly deal with their own affairs they may decide to provide a third party with authority to act on their behalf. This authority is often granted through a power of attorney.
Powers of attorney are usually made in the following circumstances:
- By someone who has the capacity to deal with their own affairs but, for practical reasons, they need a third party to act on their behalf, for example, if they intend to go abroad for a period of time; these are known as Ordinary or General Powers of Attorney. In these cases, the person transferring the power is known as the donor or granter and the person receiving it is the attorney.
- To make provision for a third party to take over the running of an individual’s affairs if or when they become incapacitated and unable to do this for themselves. The rules governing this type of attorney vary between England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but in all circumstances, to be valid, these documents must be registered with either a public guardian or a specialist court.
HM Revenue & Customs has specific guidance to follow when an officer is dealing with a person who has been given power of attorney (IDG30431).