Powers of Attorney
For some people, getting older means more than just experiencing the odd ‘senior moment’. If someone loses the mental capacity to take decisions about their finances and property, there can be serious legal and practical problems.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you appoint people you trust to look after your finances and other affairs if you’re unable to do so. It’s also the only way to get banks, utility companies and other organisations to deal with a third party on your behalf. There are various types to suit your particular requirements:
General Power of Attorney
The simplest form, this lasts for only one year. What’s more, it becomes invalid if the person loses their mental capacity – in other words, when you most need it.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
There are two types of LPA. With a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, you appoint your attorney to look after your property and financial affairs; a Health and Welfare LPA allows them to make decisions about your healthcare and personal welfare.
The person (or people) must act in your best interests. Before they can act, the LPA must be registered with the Court of Protection: we can take care of the formalities.
By taking out an LPA you can:
- give yourself peace of mind by knowing that someone you trust will take of your affairs if you’re ever unable to do so
- give your family peace of mind by knowing they can manage your affairs on your behalf if it ever becomes necessary
If you lose your mental capacity, or become unable to look after your affairs, but don’t have an LPA, the Court of Protection can appoint a Deputy to make decisions on your behalf. This takes time, costs money, and may place your affairs in the hands of someone you would not have chosen yourself.
What happens if I am unable to make decisions for myself in the future?
If you lose capacity before you make a Lasting Power of Attorney then your family will have to go to court to obtain a Deputyship. This process can be lengthy and more expensive.
What is the value in using a solicitor to deal with Lasting Powers of Attorney?
- We provide advice about and explain the purposes of an LPA
- We create good quality, accurate LPAs
- We support the donor to make the best choice of attorney
- We take on roles in the LPA- for example, certificate provider, witness and attorney (where appropriate)
- We carry out risk assessments, safeguarding vulnerable clients
- We can arrange capacity assessments with medical professionals if needed
- We deal with the Office of the Public Guardian and applications to register the LPAs
- We provide support which includes:
- Reducing stress for the donor
- Providing peace of mind
- Helping clients who don’t have access to computers to make an LPA
What is a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
This type of LPA can only be used if you lose your mental capacity. Attorneys can make decisions about:
- Medical treatment
- Whether you continue to live at home or move to a care home
- End of life wishes
What is a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney?
This type of LPA can be used even if you have your mental capacity. This is handy if you no longer want to manage your finances or find it difficult to do so due to physical incapacity etc. Your attorneys can for example:
- Pay bills
- Collect benefits
- Sell a house
- Invest money
Why is it a good idea to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
An LPA is a legal document that allows you to choose who you would like to make decisions on your behalf. The attorneys are usually trusted friends or family members who will run your affairs, pay bills, etc. An LPA can only be completed when you have mental capacity and is only usually used if you lose capacity. There are 2 types of LPA which appoint attorneys to make decisions on your behalf, one for Property and Financial Affairs and one for Health and Welfare. In all circumstances, the attorney must act in your best interests.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
A change in the law means it’s no longer possible to take out a new EPA; however, existing ones remain valid. An EPA must be registered with the Court of Protection if the person who made it loses their mental capacity: we can deal with the registration formalities for you.
Whichever type of LPA you choose, we’ll store it securely and free of charge as part of our service.