Power of Attorney
The possibility of losing the capacity to manage our personal affairs is something we should all consider, not only just as we grow older. In the event that you are not able to deal with your Finances or make decisions concerning your Health and Welfare, not having a Power Of Attorney in place can have serious consequences. Without an appropriate Power of Attorney, your friends or family may not be able to help you or act on your behalf.
Types of Power of Attorney
Enduring Power of Attorney documents gave Attorneys the authority to act on behalf of the person who made the EPA (the Donor), and make key decisions concerning their finances.
EPAs do not provide the Attorney with the ability to make decisions concerning Health and Welfare decisions. Since the introduction of Lasting Powers of Attorney you cannot make new EPAs, however, existing EPAs are still valid and Attorneys under EPAs should ensure that they know the extent of their authority and when to contact the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to keep them informed of the condition of the Donor.
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to give your loved ones the legal authority to make key decisions about your finances, health and welfare should you be unable to do so yourself in the future.
LPAs can cover health and welfare issues, including medical care you receive and where you live, as well as property and finance issues, such as selling your home and managing your pension. You can decide exactly what decisions your Attorney will be able to make on your behalf, ensuring your needs will be met without giving away more control than you are comfortable with.
It’s advisable that you have a solicitor draft an LPA for you and the Power of Attorney will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to give it legal force, either by the person making the LPA or by a named Attorney when the time comes that the Power of Attorney needs to be used.
A General Power of Attorney is a limited type of Power of Attorney where the Donor appoints an Attorney to assist and make decisions for them concerning only a specific matter and for a precise period of time.
GPAs should only be used in limited circumstances and where no other option is appropriate. However, in the event that the Donor loses their mental capacity, the GPA will immediately be cancelled and the Attorney under this Power of Attorney no longer has the ability to assist.
How our LPA team can help you
At WDS, our highly experienced team can guide you through the entire process of creating and registering the most appropriate Power of Attorney for you. We also regularly advise Attorneys on the use of their powers and the actions they need to take to support their loved ones.
We are sensitive to the practical and emotional issues involved in representing vulnerable people in all matters related to their health and welfare. Our friendly, experienced team are experts at balancing the conflicting needs of the various parties involved and finding a positive way forward that protects the needs of the vulnerable person at the heart of the matter.
As well as offering strong expertise in Lasting Powers of Attorney, we can also advise you on applications to the Court of Protection where a loved one has lost mental capacity and did not make an LPA.
Get in touch with our Lasting Power of Attorney team in Bristol
An introductory guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Donor is the person who makes the Power of Attorney authorising others to make decisions about their affairs for them.
An Attorney is the person or people authorised to act for the Donor under the Power of Attorney.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney; Health and Welfare LPA, and Property and Financial Decisions LPA.
- A Property and Financial Decisions LPA can give your Attorney authority over decisions such as selling your home, collecting your pension, managing your bank account and paying bills.
- A Health and Welfare LPA can give your Attorney authority over decisions such as what medical care you receive, whether you need to be moved into a care home and your daily routine, e.g. washing, dressing and diet.
Exactly what type of LPA you need and what specific issues it should cover will depend on your personal circumstances, so it is important to carefully consider this with the advice of your lawyer before making a decision.
The process for registering an Enduring Power of Attorney is similar to that for an LPA and we will be happy to guide you through the process where required.
Within your Lasting Power of Attorney, you can appoint more than one Attorney to manage your affairs for you. You can specify what level of authority will be granted to each Attorney and you can nominate a certain Attorney to act in a particular area on your behalf.
You can appoint someone at any time, even if you are capable of making the decision yourself.
If you choose more than one Attorney, you can either authorise them to work jointly or ‘jointly and severally’.
Attorneys working jointly must agree any decisions made on your behalf under the LPA.
Attorneys working jointly and severally can either agree the decisions to be made or act independently.
You can make an LPA at any time, provided you are mentally and physically able to make your own decisions. You can either then register the Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian yourself or the named attorney or attorneys can register the LPA when it is needed.
It’s worth noting that the registration process can be lengthy, typically taking around 8 to 10 weeks. We therefore recommend making and registering your LPA well in advance of when you might need it.
Before we can register your LPA, we must notify ‘named’ persons and give them the opportunity to object. These named people are anyone that the person creating the LPA (the ‘Donor’) has chosen to notify.
The Donor does not need to notify anyone if they choose not to, but it’s normal to notify close family, other dependants and anyone else who might have reason to object. This allows these potential objections to be resolved upfront, rather than leaving them to be a problem for your Attorney or Attorneys later.
We must also include a certificate to verify that you understand the contents of the LPA and how it operates, and you are not under pressure to make it.
Our Lasting Power of Attorney fees
The cost of making a Lasting Power of Attorney will depend on the circumstances, including exactly what you need included in the LPA and any specific issues that need to be considered. We will be happy to provide a clear idea of the costs involved upfront, so you can make an informed decision before proceeding.
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