Powers of Attorney

Peace of mind

for you and your family

Can you imagine or have you experienced a situation where you or a member of your family is no longer able to make decisions? Sadly there may come a time when, because you are incapable of managing your property and financial affairs or personal welfare, you will need someone to do this for you.

This frightening reality is all too familiar to many and compels them to formally appoint a friend, relative or professional to hold a Lasting Power of Attorney allowing them to act for them. The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA); is a legal document that, quite simply enables one person to make decisions on behalf of another.

An Attorney is someone you choose to make decisions about your finances if you are no longer able or perhaps unwilling to. If you don't appoint an Attorney, and lose mental capacity, friends or relatives may have to ask the Court of Protection to appoint a Receiver to handle your affairs. Think ahead and spare them the trouble and expense.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document where a person gives another person or persons (the Attorney) authority to make certain decisions on his or her behalf

The two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

Property and financial affairs LPA

A property and financial affairs LPA allows your Attorney authority to deal with your property and finances, as you specify.

Health and welfare LPA

A health and welfare LPA allows your Attorney to make health and welfare care decisions on your behalf, only when you lack mental capacity to do so yourself. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.

Your Attorney

A property and financial affairs LPA, which allows your Attorney authority to deal with your property and finances, as you specify A health and welfare LPA, which allows your Attorney to make health and welfare care decisions on your behalf, only when you lack mental capacity to do so yourself. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.

As with any Power of Attorney, it is an important document and you should take care whom you appoint as they should be trustworthy and have appropriate skills to make the proposed decisions. If you appoint more than one Attorney, you can appoint them to always act together (jointly) or together or separately (jointly and severally). You may even appoint them to act jointly for some things and jointly and severally for others, although this should only be done with advice, as it may cause problems when using the power.

You may also choose to appoint a successor to your Attorney, in case they die or otherwise cannot act for you.

When can the Attorney act?

The attorney will only be able to act when the LPA has been signed by you and your attorney, certified by a person that you understand the nature and scope of the LPA and have not been unduly pressured into making the power.

The certificate will also need to confirm there has not been any fraud or another reason why you cannot make the power. It must then be registered with the Office of Public Guardian before it can be used.

The property and financial affairs LPA can be used both when you have capacity to act, as well as if you lack mental capacity to make a financial decision.

The health and welfare power can only be used if you lack mental capacity to make a welfare or medical decision.

What happens if you have not made a LPA or EPA?

If you lack capacity to make a financial decision, then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for an appropriate order, such as appointing another person to make decisions on your behalf. This is both costly and time consuming.

Most care and treatment decisions can be made on your behalf without the need for a court application. However, if you wish to avoid potential disputes, you can give a person(s) authority to make those decisions on your behalf by making a health and welfare LPA.