Lasting Power of Attorney

Appointing a lasting power of attorney ensures that your assets and best interests remain safe, in trusted hands should you ever become unable to handle your own affairs. An important safety net when you need it most.

What is a Power of Attorney?

Appointing a power of attorney (POA) provides you with protection if you are unable to look out for your own best interests for any reason. In essence, a POA is a legal document that grants a chosen party (known as an attorney), the right to make key decisions on your behalf.

Certain circumstances may make the need for a POA more pressing. For example, somebody entering into military service may appoint a POA before deploying to safeguard their best interests in the event they are badly injured or pronounced missing in action.

Other common causes for a POA can include working abroad for a time, being unavailable to make key decisions, or most commonly, as a result of ill health or old age. An attorney can act on your behalf in regards to your property, your investments, and even your medical care.

Unlike other types of POA such as a lasting power of attorney (LPA), the authority of a POA will only remain in effect for a certain period of time.

Should you appoint more than one person you must specify whether they are to act jointly, or jointly and severally The difference between both options are:

Jointly

Your attorneys must make all their decisions as a collective. In this circumstance, some agreement would need to be made as to which conclusion to ultimately settle on.

Jointly & Severally

Certain attorneys will have the right to make decisions as an individual. If there is a person who you think is best suited to look after a particular interest, this may be the ideal route. For other interests where you believe a collective mind is needed, decisions need to be made cohesively.

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.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Appointing a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is the process of giving a person or persons you trust legal authority to manage affairs and make decisions on your behalf, or help you make key decisions. Upon instructing a power of attorney, it is important to discuss preferences should certain circumstances happen to ensure that your wishes are taken into account.

Ordinary power of attorneys are used as short-term measures should making decisions be temporarily difficult for you. Contrastingly, lasting power of attorney’s are appointed to help over a much longer period of time.

Generally, there are two different types of lasting power of attorney — a lasting power of attorney for finances and another for healthcare. You can appoint the same person or persons to be in control of both LPAs.

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.

How to Set Up a Power of Attorney

The process of setting up a power of attorney is an important one. From selecting your attorney, making your application, and finally registering your attorney, there are important decisions and vital documents that should not be rushed. Take your time and make sure that you make sure that your best interests will be protected.</p> <p>The process of how to set up a power of attorney is as follows:

Mobile Phone

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.

Advanced directive

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.

FILING CABINET (002)

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.

Types of Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two official types of lasting power of attorney. This is to protect the principal and minimise the risk of one party having full autonomy and utilising it to their advantage. It also allows attorneys to focus on specific tasks rather than splitting their attention. The two types are:

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.

How Does a Power of Attorney Work?

Both powers of attorney have different roles and responsibilities. It’s not as simple as one POA taking charge of money and the other taking control of healthcare. Responsibilities of both health and welfare, and property and affairs lasting powers of attorney include:

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
  • Property
  • Investments
  • Bank/building society accounts
  • Money
  • 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)
  • Will
  • Money

Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

You have a will in place, so why would you need a power of attorney as well? Put simply, while most types of will act to protect you interests after you die to ensure your loved ones are protected, a lasting power of attorney is in place to protect your interests while you are still alive.

Essentially, power of attorney is a safety net, something that allows you to be safe in the knowledge that no matter what happens, somebody you can trust is making key decisions on your behalf.

A power of attorney is vital for anyone — regardless of age — who has money and assets to protect or who wants someone to act in their best interest in terms of healthcare choices should they be unable to make decisions for themselves.

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.

What Happens if You Do Not Have Power of Attorney?

It is a common misconception that should you lose capacity, authority over key health and welfare and financial decisions would automatically fall to significant others, or next of kin. However, this is untrue. A failure to appoint a power of attorney can make things incredibly complicated and stressful for those closest to you.

If you lose the capability to make decisions and there is no power of attorney in place, your loved ones will be forced to go through the arduous Court of Protection application process. The Court of Protection is there to decide if you have truly lost the capability to make key decisions for yourself, and appoint a deputy to make decisions should they see fit.

This process can be stressful and takes a long time to resolve. forcing all immediate decisions to be delayed until somebody is in place to make them on your behalf.

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.)

Why Use Just Wills and Legal Services to Set Up a Power of Attorney

When it comes to a matter as important as helping you set up a power of attorney you can trust, you will want to know you’re dealing with somebody you can rely on. At Just Wills and Legal Services we provide a level of care that cannot be matched, because we are:

Flexible

We appreciate the complexities of dealing with such important matters. That is why we understand that sometimes you might change your mind, or want things altered. As our client that is your prerogative — we are merely here to support your decisions wherever we can.

Caring

When it comes to the law, professionals can get a reputation for being cold, and too focused on the finances. We pride ourselves in providing a caring, compassionate, local service on a national scale. We don’t sacrifice attention or quality in anything we do.

All-Encompassing

Complex legal issues like a power of attorney aren’t always easy to navigate. That’s why we are always on-hand and prepared to help you should the situation snowball. We provide a holistic service, from basic wills to the more complex estate planning.

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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