The general power of attorney

The General Power of Attorney, as the sum of several special powers of attorney, covers all legal and personal proxies. Revocation is possible at any time without giving any reason.

General powers of attorney: What you need to know

A General power of attorney is one of the most comprehensive powers of attorney. A person who is no longer capable of acting and having legal capacity, but has not appointed a proxy, has no possibility of enforcing his or her will and wishes. This situation can occur due to an illness, an accident or due to old age. This makes the situation even more stressful for the person concerned and his or her relatives.

With a general power of attorney, you can avoid getting into such a helpless situation. It includes all legal proxies with the exception of the highly personal transactions of family and inheritance law. This major decision should therefore be made together with relatives and with the involvement of a lawyer or notary public.

You should know this important information about general powers of attorney:

In the most frequently asked questions you will find the most important information.

  • The power of attorney regulates representation in all Legal transactions.
  • Without a power of attorney determines a Court in case of emergency your representative.
  • The general power of attorney is extensive than a health care proxy.

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What is a general power of attorney?


There are many different types of powers of attorney: Bank powers of attorney, powers of attorney to act, and powers of attorney for guardianship are just a few examples. The most comprehensive type of power of attorney but is the general power of attorney. It covers all legal and personal proxies and therefore also has a large risk of abuse. Therefore, you should only authorize people whom you trust absolutely.

A general power of attorney enables the authorized representative to conduct business, consent to operations, conclude a home contract and manage assets on behalf of the issuer. Since the area covered by the power of attorney is so wide-ranging, it should be meticulously formulated Be. If you categorically refuse something, for example, home placement or the sale of certain items, it is essential to put this in writing.

What is the difference between a general power of attorney and a health care power of attorney??

A basic distinction is made between a general power of attorney and Special powers of attorney. The health care power of attorney deals with health and medical issues – for example, institutionalization, consenting to surgery, or viewing confidential health documents. This makes it more specific than the general power of attorney. A general power of attorney therefore consists of several special powers of attorney, including the health care power of attorney.

Other components include a care directive, living will and/or bank power of attorney. The scope of the general power of attorney can therefore be combined variably from other or as a Overarching power of attorney formulate. A health care power of attorney expires with the death of the issuer. A general power of attorney is transmortal, i.e. valid beyond death. Only the rightful heirs can revoke the general power of attorney after the death of the authorizer.


A general power of attorney consists of the sum of several special powers of attorney.

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Good to know: Time of issue

All powers of attorney can only be issued by persons who full legal capacity are. This is especially true with documents as comprehensive as a general power of attorney. In case of doubt, business capacity must be certified by a physician.

Persons with incipient dementia or other impairment of mental faculties can no longer issue a general power of attorney. This is another argument in favor of a early preparation of documents within the scope of one’s own old-age provision.

What is a proxy allowed to do – and what is he not allowed to do?

A general power of attorney takes effect immediately upon delivery to the authorized representative. You have absolute decision-making power in the formulation of the general power of attorney: You as the author decide for yourself what the general power of attorney may and may not do. You can also specify a period during which the general power of attorney is to be valid. If the power of attorney expires, the agent is legally obligated to return the power of attorney document to you.

Excluded from the general power of attorney are the so-called highly personal matters. This includes, for example, marriage, divorce or the writing of a will. These family law matters may not be decided by the authorized representative. Not even if the grantor should no longer be capable of acting. The exclusion of other areas is subject to the power of attorney and can be added individually.

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Appointing two authorized representatives

If you issue a general power of attorney, you should ideally name two authorized representatives. A second guardian serves as security, if the primary authorized representative is unable to fulfill his or her power of attorney duties due to his or her own circumstances.

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You want Providing for your future and specify who may decide for you in legal transactions in case of need? In this video, you will learn how to draw up a valid general power of attorney, what Cost and where you should ideally deposit the power of attorney.

For whom is a general power of attorney suitable?


External circumstances and strokes of fate such as illness, accidents or a sudden need for care cannot be planned for. Personal provision, on the other hand, is. This includes precautionary documents. Pension experts therefore recommend that powers of attorney are Early to deposit. According to the Central Registry of Retirement Savings (ZVR), there were approximately 4.6 million retirement documents on file at the close of 2019. 1

In principle any person over the age of 18 Issue and deposit a power of attorney. In old age, however, the number of powers of attorney deposited per person increases significantly. There is no reason why a power of attorney should not be issued at a young age. A general power of attorney can also be flexibly adapted or revoked at any time. If you secure yourself in good time with suitable powers of attorney, you will have two decisive advantages at once:

  1. The security, that even in the case of an emergency, your own will be done – even if you can no longer enforce it yourself.
  2. Clarity for your relatives who, in case of doubt, are not sure what you want in individual cases – and the prevention of associated conflicts.

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What is the cost of a general power of attorney?


The costs of a general power of attorney are dependent on your assets. This includes the sum of the real assets, i.e. the assets in accounts and savings books, but also capital invested in securities, shares and real estate, as well as valuables, immovables and cars. For the calculation of the notary costs, a maximum of half of your assets is used. The upper limit of the assets taken into account is 500.000 euros.

If the notary draws up and certifies the power of attorney, the Notary fees with assets of 50.000 Euro at about 80 Euro, with assets of 300.000 Euro at around 280 Euro. If you want to draw up the general power of attorney yourself and only have it notarized, the notary costs are significantly lower. A deposit in the ZVG costs you only a fee of from 13 euros. The notary takes care of the settlement. The addition of a care and living will costs about 30 euros extra.

  • The Notary fees vary depending on the assets, the maximum considered is 500.000 euros.
  • If you revoke the Draw up power of attorney yourself and merely have it notarized, the costs are less expensive.
  • A deposit in the central register of precaution is connected with an additional handling fee of starting from 13 euro

Is a general power of attorney valid without a notary?

According to § 164 of the Civil Code 2, a general power of attorney is not bound to certain formalities. However, a notarial certification is necessary so that the general power of attorney recognized by courts becomes. In the worst case, a power of attorney that has not been notarized will not be considered by the court and is thus de facto useless. Then exactly what should be avoided by the general power of attorney occurs: A judge appoints a legal guardian.

This is not necessarily a relative and acts possibly also not in your will. It is not uncommon that completely strangers as guardians be set aside if the court does not consider anyone from the person’s immediate circle to be suitable. The criteria for selection are often not apparent to private individuals. Therefore, everyone should have a general power of attorney for emergencies, also have it notarized and deposited in the ZVG.

How and when to revoke a general power of attorney?

You can use the general power of attorney at any time revoked. You do not have to give any reasons for this. This applies to any form of power of attorney. If you have appointed a trusted person as general power of attorney and wish to revoke this, you must inform him or her accordingly in writing communicate. An oral revocation is invalid. Send the revocation for your own legal security necessarily by registered mail. The previously authorized person must return the original power of attorney document to you. He is legally obliged to do so.

When revoking a general power of attorney, you should inform your Inform the notary immediately. Thus, the latter can also update the deposit in the Central Register of Provisions (ZVG) with the revocation. If you wish, the power of attorney can also be deleted from the ZVG. Then, however, the proof that a power of attorney ever existed has also disappeared. If the previously authorized person claims that he or she is still in possession of the power of attorney, the reference to the revocation in the register of precautions can already serve as counter-evidence.

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Sample documents for a general power of attorney


On the Internet you can find many samples or templates for a general power of attorney. However, we strongly advise against these. The reason: legal counsel should always be consulted for such a comprehensive document. There are many pitfalls hidden in the formulation of the details that sometimes serious consequences have. Incorrect or careless formulations can lead to the power of attorney being misused or misinterpreted.

A granted power of attorney can be revoked at any time – but if an emergency occurs in which the grantor of the power of attorney is no longer capable of acting, no revocation can be issued. Even though the general power of attorney is a document that is useful to any person, it can be just as harmful if it is Negligently drawn up becomes. Make themselves therefore in the apron exactly over it, which you wish, in addition, which you reject. Write down your thoughts in bullet points and draw up the power of attorney document together with a notary public.

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Good to know: When in doubt, see a lawyer

If you want to issue a general power of attorney, be sure to discuss the details with your Lawyer or notary discuss. Only then are you legally on the safe side.

The instructions and explanations given here are intended as without obligation to be understood and is not legal advice. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the correctness or completeness of the information provided.

How long is a general power of attorney valid??

In principle, a general power of attorney is transmortal. This means that they also Valid beyond the death of the issuer is. As long as the issuer is alive, he can revoke the general power of attorney at any time. If the issuer dies, only the legal heirs can revoke the power of attorney. If the heirs do not revoke the general power of attorney, it continues to be valid indefinitely.

There are however possibilities to limit the duration of validity. The period during which the general power of attorney is to be valid must then be recorded in writing in the power of attorney itself. After the expiration of the validity period, it must be reissued. Otherwise, the power of attorney will expire on the specified date and the authorized representative must return the document to the issuer.

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Make provisions with the general power of attorney
Expert opinion by Eva Flohr, notary public

In 1993, the law on guardianship was introduced in Germany. Since then, a guardianship court takes care of those who are partly or no longer able to manage their own affairs. That a foreign guardian decides over one, however, is unpleasant to many. With a general power of attorney, everyone can decide for themselves who will take care of their own affairs in the event of an emergency. Notary Eva Flohr explains to us in an expert interview for whom a general power of attorney is advisable.

Anyone can find themselves in this situation: Due to a psychological, physical, mental or emotional illness or disability, one is suddenly no longer able to make decisions independently. Few people want to deal with this thought. "The topic concerns unpleasant life situations," explains notary Eva Flohr in an interview. But it seems even more undesirable to give a stranger the power to make decisions in such an emergency situation. But it is exactly this fait accompli that many families are faced with when a loved one is suddenly no longer independent, but no power of attorney is in place. When asked to whom she would recommend a general power of attorney, the expert answers very firmly: "Everyone who is."

However, caution is advised against sample solutions. Free general power of attorney samples can be found in thousands and thousands of versions on the Internet. Expert Eva Flohr does not think much of these sample powers of attorney: "No one assumes liability for them. The competence of the author is not evident." So if you use the free templates on the Internet, you run the risk of creating an invalid retirement plan document. This usually only becomes apparent in an emergency – but then it is too late. Because at the time of the production of a power of attorney the power giver must be capable of acting, thus in the full possession of its mental forces. The expert therefore always recommends consulting a notary directly when drawing up any power of attorney.

"If you have persons in your environment whom you trust: Give them a notarized power of attorney."
Eva Flohr, notary and power of attorney expert

The costs of a notarized general power of attorney are manageable. They are based on the value of the assets and start at 60 euros. It gets far more expensive if there is no general power of attorney: "A guardianship procedure with a professional guardian costs 300.000 euros is already about 10.000 euros per year," warns the expert. Those who want to save costs in the short term often pay significantly more in the long term. Notarization provides additional security, because the notary retains the original document. "If a copy is lost, the notary can create a new one at any time. With a certification there is only one certificate.", explains the expert.

With a legally secure general power of attorney, no additional powers of attorney are necessary. "A general power of attorney covers everything, especially all property-related matters, but also all personal matters", explains Eva Flohr. This also includes questions of health care. The person granting the power of attorney decides for himself who may and should act in his will when it is drawn up. Thus no strange responsible person intervenes into the private affairs. And that’s what most people want – to be protected by loved ones even in an emergency. Expert agrees: "Major decisions should be made exclusively by the family."


Eva Flohr is a notary. In her law firm, based in Alzey, Rheinhessen, she and her team deal with a wide range of areas from the preventive administration of justice. This makes her an expert for powers of attorney of all kinds.

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