A General Power of Attorney (GPA) can only be used to make financial decisions (as opposed to Health) decisions on behalf of the donor (i.e. the person giving the power to the Attorney).
The GPA can either grant full control over all decisions relating to financial affairs or it can be time and decision specific, i.e. only so that an Attorney can sell a property for someone living outside of England & Wales.
The difference between a GPA and a Lasting (LPA) or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is that the GPA will always end on completion of the specific task, or if the GPA granted complete financial decision making powers, it will end on the donor losing capacity, either temporarily or permanently.
A GPA today is useful for UK residents living abroad, again, say perhaps if they need a property selling whilst abroad.
Another reason to consider a GPA is if, say, a donor is in physical poor health and needs help with finances but is unlikely to ever lose capacity – i.e. in instances of terminal illness, or if, say, a donor has signed an LPA but needs the Attorney to start acting for them within the 6-8 weeks it takes for an LPA to be register. Once the registered LPA is returned to the donor however, the Attorney can then resume their role under that document instead so that any threat of capacity loss is no longer a concern.
For a greater comparison between GPAs, EPAs and LPAs, click HERE