Setting up power of attorney: Specialist planning for unexpected circumstances
It is a sad fact, as people live longer, their mental and physical health deteriorates and it means that there may come a time when you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Before this happens, you can choose people you know and trust to make decisions on your behalf and set up what is known as lasting powers of attorney.
Our specialist power of attorney solicitors can advise you on the importance of setting up (POA), as well as drawing up the necessary paperwork and registering your powers of attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian so they are ready to use if and when you need them.
What is power of attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that states the individual (also known as an agent) who is given the authority to make decisions on behalf of another person. A POA is most commonly required in cases of mental illness where an individual is incapable of making decisions.
When should I make a power of attorney?
You can only make a lasting power of attorney when you still have the mental ability to do so, so it's important to make this decision even if it seems premature - allow our expert solicitors to set up these precautions and discuss all of the available options to help you make the best decisions to plan for any potential circumstances.
The importance of a power of attorney
Setting up a power of attorney is essential to protect yourself in unpredictable circumstances. For example:
- Unexpected injury or illness: Your mental or physical capacity could be an issue at any point in your life, young or old.
- Life expectancy is rising: Due to medical advancements, we are living longer, which means an increase in mental deterioration diseases.
- Take control of your decisions: By setting up these precautions, you will still be in control of your financial and health decisions even if you are not mentally able, as you have already predicted the circumstances.
- Protect your interests: You can choose who will be in charge of your assets and estate with someone who knows your personal interests.
- Business decisions: Lasting power of attorney doesn't just only protect your assets and estate, a Property and Financial Affairs (LPA) will help safeguard your business decisions.
Types of power of attorney
There are a number of different options available when setting up a power of attorney - for all your power of attorney requirements, we can provide you with the professional advice you need.
Lasting power of attorney
There are two types of lasting powers of attorney:
- Health and Welfare LPA: covers decisions about health and care and even deciding where you are to live. This can only be used if someone is incapable of dealing with such matters themselves.
- Property and financial affairs LPA: allows your loved ones to deal with paying your bills, buying and selling your property, and managing your bank accounts and investments.
Ordinary power of attorney
As well as lasting powers of attorney, you may need to set up an ordinary power of attorney - these can be set up and used (unlike LPAs) for financial transactions when you have full mental capacity. For example, if you are going overseas, while an important transaction is going on over here in the UK, you might want to appoint someone to handle your finances in your absence.
Enduring power of attorney
Enduring power of attorney (EPA) cases registered before 2007, when they were replaced by lasting powers of attorney, are still valid today. They outline decisions about your finances and property, that come into effect if you wish someone to act on your behalf or you lose the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.