There are three different types of power of attorney currently in place. These are:
Enduring power of attorneys: EPAs cover decisions surrounding property and finances should you lose mental capacity. EPAs were replaced in October 2007 meaning that unless you signed an EPA agreement prior to this date, you can no longer appoint an enduring power of attorney.
Ordinary power of attorney: Ordinary power of attorneys act to care for your financial affairs for a temporary period.
Lasting power of attorney: The primary form of power of attorney. LPAs replaced EPAs in 2007 and ensure that you remain protected for the future, no matter what eventuality may occur.
A lasting power of attorney can make decisions regarding the following and more:
- The principal’s living affairs
- Daily care
- Medical treatment
- Purchasing or selling property
- Operating a bank account
- Benefit claims
- Tax affairs
Are you Ready to Set Up a Power of Attorney?
Guarantee that your health and finances remain safe and secure. Just Wills and Legal Services have the knowledge and experience to give you peace of mind.
Step One: Select your Attorney
The first and most important step in setting up a power of attorney is to make the decision of who exactly should represent you. It is common for people to assign power of attorney to a friend or a family member. However, it may also be worth opting for a solicitor to represent you. A solicitor will have vast knowledge and experience dealing with situations like this, putting them in a better position to act on your behalf.
Additionally, having a solicitor act as your attorney will provide reassurances if you’re unsure about the process, are not on good terms with possible candidates in your family, or have particularly complex assets like a high-value business or overseas property.
Step Two: Complete your Application
The process of submitting your application can go one of two ways. You can either opt to do it yourself, or you can have a professional handle it for you to save time.
Should you choose to do it yourself, you must follow all of the steps on the government website. You must then print out your completed form, sign it yourself, and have a certificate provider sign it also. A certificate provider can be any trusted person you have known for more than two years. Typically this position is filled by partners, siblings, parents etc. It is vital that you double check all information provided to make sure no mistakes are present that could invalidate your application.
Step Three: Register your Power of Attorney
The final step of the process of setting up a power of attorney is to post your application to The Office of the Public Guardian in order to officially register it.
Provided all forms are signed in advance, the final registration of your power of attorney can be submitted at any time, including after capacity is lost. However, registering well in advance is recommended to allow for time to make amendments and corrections.
A power of attorney application costs £82 in England and Wales. Should you appoint a financial AND health LPA you will need to pay £164. If you earn less than £12,000 per year you may be eligible to pay a reduced fee. The Office of the Public Guardian may also decide to waive the fee under specific financial circumstances.
Health & Welfare
A Health & Welfare lasting power of attorney revolves around decisions on day-to-day health care and medical treatment if the principal loses capacity.
If you wish to make any potential decisions ahead of time in the event of losing your capacity, you may want to consider a living will — this document supersedes an LPA when it comes to conditions noted within the will.
Without an LPA, loved ones will need to apply to The Court of Protection for authority, putting key health and welfare decisions in a state of limbo.
Property & Affairs
A Property & Affairs lasting power of attorney is responsible for looking after your finances and key assets — such as your property — if you become unable to deal with them yourself.
Due to the importance of these assets, you may wish to consider putting some restrictions in place to prevent your LPA making certain decisions, and you should also guide them on what your wishes are.
You can appoint one LPA to cover the whole financial base, or you can have specific lasting powers of attorney to deal with certain issues based around their speciality fields.
Health & Welfare
The role of a health and welfare lasting power of attorney will cover every single base should you find yourself no longer able to make such key decisions.
The role of a health and welfare LPA can include important details such as the type of medical treatment administered, where you are cared for, and potentially decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment.
Alternatively, a health and welfare power of attorney can also be responsible for more mundane day-to-day decisions. This can include the clothes you wear, your diet, and other parts of your daily routine. It is also possible that your health LPA may take it upon themselves to spend your money to improve your overall quality of life — this can be on things like new clothes, decorations, or for visits.
Property & Affairs
A property and financial affairs attorney is responsible for supporting the donor in making any and all decisions regarding their finances or assets. This will likely include support in making decisions regarding:
- Pensions and benefits
- Bank/building society accounts
- Taxes and bills
Your property and affairs LPA will also be tasked with maintaining aspects of your portfolio during periods where you are unable, including managing your:
- Bank accounts
- Property (maintenance or sale)
The appointment of a power of attorney should be high up on the agenda of anybody with money and assets worth protecting, and for anybody who wishes for security when it comes to vital healthcare issues should they no longer be able to make decisions.
Should you or a loved one have neglected to set up a lasting power of attorney — we recommend that you rectify this, for peace of mind when it is needed most.
Should you find yourself unable to make decisions for yourself, with nobody available to act on your behalf, an independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) can be assigned to act for you.
In this situation, an IMCA will essentially act as a power of attorney with support from experts close to the situation (doctors, social workers, etc.)
Set Up Your Lasting Power of Attorney Today
Life is unpredictable; you never know what tomorrow can bring. You can be in complete control of your own situation one day, and the next be in need of somebody to help make decisions on your behalf. Avoid putting your loved ones through unnecessary stress and guarantee that somebody is in place with your best interests at heart should the worst happen. Set up your lasting power of attorney today.
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When Do You Need a Power of Attorney?
You need a power of attorney in place for when you lose capacity and are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. As a result, it is important that anybody aged 18 or over consider whether to appoint one — particularly if they have significant assets or a history of brain neurodegenerative diseases such as alzheimers or Parkinsons.
Who Can be a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Any trusted person you have known for at least two years can act as a lasting power of attorney. Typically the role of a lasting power of attorney is afforded to a very close family member — a spouse or partner, a parent, a sibling etc. If you are without close friends or family, a solicitor can act as your POA.
Who Can Witness a Power of Attorney?
Unless the power of attorney is required for legal purposes, the appointment relates to a business, or there is a high-value investment included, you will not need a legal professional/solicitor to act as witness. In most cases, anybody can act as a witness.
Can More Than One Person Have Power of Attorney?
A person is able to appoint as many power of attorneys as they like. This can be done to either have these parties act as a committee working together to decide the best decisions for you, or you can instruct multiple power of attorneys of differing specialties to all make decisions only in fields they have particular knowledge in.
Is Notifying a Power of Attorney Necessary?
There is no obligation to notify anybody when registering a lasting power of attorney. It is acceptable to leave the section marked ‘people to notify’ blank on the form should you wish. Should you intend to notify anybody, you must fill this section in and forward them a copy.
How Much Does Power of Attorney Cost?
At Just Wills & Legal Services, we will discuss your wishes and requirements and will keep costs to a minimum.
Can You Do Power of Attorney Without a Solicitor?
It is possible to appoint a power of attorney without a solicitor. You can fill in the application without the guidance of one, and you can select a family member or partner to act as your power of attorney. We recommend seriously considering your choice however. A family member may not be qualified to make some decisions on your behalf.
Can You Contest a Power of Attorney?
If you, as a loved one, feel that power of attorney has been granted to an unsuitable person, that the individual lacked the necessary capacity to make the initial appointment, or the POA is not acting in the principal’s best interest, it is important that you seek specialist assistance.
It may be possible to successfully contest a power of attorney through the courts. However, the process is often highly complex and time consuming.