Powers of Attorney
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you ('the donor') to appoint another person or persons to act on your behalf ('your attorney') if you become unable to manage your affairs yourself. If you wish to have any say in who will do this, it is imperative that you appoint someone, otherwise you could end up with an unknown professional or an unwanted family member managing your affairs via a deputyship order.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney namely:
1. Lasting Power of Attorney - Property and Financial Affairs
This will allow your attorneys to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your finances and any property which you own. Once a Lasting Power of Attorney has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian, it can be used either when you do not want to make decisions for yourself or you are physically or mentally unable to. It can be revoked at any time unless you lose mental capacity and do not understand what you are doing.
2. Lasting Power of Attorney - Health and Welfare
This will allow your attorneys to make the day to day decisions about your health and welfare. Your attorneys will also be able to decide where you should live and the care which you need to receive. You can also choose whether you wish your attorney to be able to make decisions as to whether or not you should or should not receive medical treatment which may or may not be life sustaining. Many people would prefer to know that the ultimate decision would lay with their chosen attorney rather than leaving the final decision to medical professionals who may not know your thoughts on matters such as resuscitation. A Lasting Power of Attorney - Health and Welfare can only be used if it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and the donor does not have the necessary mental capacity to make the decision about their health and welfare themselves.
There are a number of safeguarding procedures put in place or the preparation of a Lasting Power of Attorney to also take into consideration.
We can assist you and advise you in relation to the preparation of your Lasting Power of Attorney and if you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We are also happy to discuss the matter with your potential attorneys and explain to them the role of an attorney to be sure that they are happy to take on the role.
If you do not have anyone that you consider to be suitable to be appointed as your attorney, you may appoint one of the partners in the firm to act on your behalf. This would incur costs, which would be calculated on a time spent basis. Alternatively, some like to appoint a family member with a solicitor to ensure transparency and because solicitors are used to managing other people's affairs and know what to do.
Once your Lasting Power of Attorney has been drawn up, we will arrange for it to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian either when you want it registered or at the request of your attorney if you lose mental capacity.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
Enduring Powers of Attorney can no longer be made and if you wish to make a new Power of Attorney, you will need to have a Lasting Power of Attorney prepared.
Enduring Powers of Attorney which have already been made can still be used.
When the person who made the Enduring Power of Attorney is no longer able to manage their affairs (i.e. has lost mental capacity), the attorneys are obliged to register the Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian. For registration, there is a strict procedure which needs to be adhered to in all cases. This procedure includes serving notice on the donor's relatives and the donor themselves and lodging an application to the Court. There are also strict time limits which must be met in relation to the application.
We can assist you throughout the whole registration procedure and we usually undertake this on a fixed fee basis. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you feel we can be of any assistance or if you wish to discuss this further.