Lasting Powers of Attorney
By making a Lasting Power of Attorney you decide what would happen if you could not make decisions for yourself or if you became physically frail and needed support managing your affairs.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person or persons to make decisions on your behalf. They are called your 'Attorney(s)'.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:
- A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney - this enables your attorneys to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your financial affairs and your property
- A Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney - this enables your attorneys to make decisions about social care issues and medical treatment, including life sustaining treatment. This type of power of attorney can only be used when you no longer have capacity to make those decisions for yourself.
You do not have to appoint the same people on both Lasting Powers of Attorneys.
What does making a Lasting Power of Attorney involve?
Once you have decided which Power of Attorney is appropriate for your needs you should choose your Attorneys. It is important to choose someone you trust. It could be a family member, friend or a professional, such as your solicitor. If you choose more than one Attorney they can be appointed to work together jointly on all matters or have the authority to act individually (joint and severally). Any Attorney you appoint is under a duty to act in your best interests.
You should consider whether you would like to impose any restrictions on what your Attorney can do or to include any guidance for your Attorneys. Examples of this may be restricting the assets your Attorneys can deal with or specifying that your Lasting Powers of Attorneys can only be used once you have lost capacity, again our Solicitors can advise you further on this.
You can specify people who should be notified before your Attorneys can register the Lasting Power of Attorney and use it. This adds a layer of protection.
You will need a 'Certificate Provider' who will sign your Lasting Power of Attorney and state that they are satisfied that they believe you understand the document and that you are not under any under pressure to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Where appropriate we can act as certificate provider. Alternatively, if your health is in question it may be wise to ask your doctor to give the certificate.
A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). We usually recommend applying to register the document immediately, even if you do not intend your Attorneys to use it straight away. We can deal with the registration for you. There is a fee charged by the OPG.
Holdens will store your Lasting Power of Attorney free of charge until such time as you may need it.
You can revoke your Lasting Power of Attorney at any time whilst you still have capacity.
If you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself and have no Lasting Power of Attorney in place then a Deputy would need to be appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions on your behalf and this may not be the person you would have chosen.
This can be an expensive procedure and it would require someone stepping forward on your behalf. The best option is to plan ahead and choose for yourself.
For a consultation with a specialist Wills, Probate, Tax or Trusts Lawyer please call Holdens on 01524 32484 or contact us online.