Things to know about power of attorney
As you come to get your affairs organised, you may have seen or heard of the term ‘Power of Attorney’ – but what is it? Power of Attorney is entrusting someone to act on your behalf regarding financial and medical decisions if you were to become unable to do so. Entrusting someone with matters as serious as these isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, so you should consider everything that there is to know about power of attorney before going ahead.
Although there a few different kinds of Power of Attorney, this guide refers to Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), which is by far the most common and the one to use if you need your affairs taken care of should you lose the capacity to make decisions.
What is power of attorney?
Firstly, you should know exactly what power of attorney gives the right to do. Power of attorney is a legal document in which you – the donor, give someone – the attorney the right to make decisions on your behalf. The attorney that you choose will have the power to act on your behalf, in your best interests, with regards to your finances and your medical situation.
Who can you choose?
So who can you choose to have power of attorney? Your attorney can be a family member, your spouse, partner or civil partner, or a friend. They could also be a professional, such as a solicitor. You can also appoint more than one attorney, who have to act either jointly – always making decisions together – or jointly and severally, where some decisions are made together and some are made individually.
The most important thing is that you trust the person or people that you choose, as they will be entrusted with a great amount of responsibility and power over serious aspects of your life. You should also make sure that they’ve had enough time to think about the decision, so that you all know exactly what it entails and if they’ll be comfortable doing it.
It’s advisable to have the guidance of a legal professional when deciding who to choose, so that you have someone with professional knowledge of the process when making your decision.
What kinds of LPA are there?
LPA is an ongoing arrangement which as no expiry date, allowing someone to indefinitely make decisions on your behalf. LPA has to be registered with the government, through the Office of the Public Guardian. There are then two types of LPA: Property and Financial Affairs LPA, and Health and Welfare LPA.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives your chosen attorney the power to make decisions about your money and property, with responsibilities including managing your bank or building society accounts, paying bills, collecting a pension or benefits and, if necessary, selling your home.
Health and Welfare LPA gives your attorney power the make decisions regarding your daily routine of washing, dressing and eating, along with medical care, moving into a care home, and life-sustaining treatment. This LPA can only be used if you are unable to make your own decisions.
Anglia Probate & Trusts
If you’re looking to secure your future decision making by appointing someone with the power of attorney, then Anglia Probate & Trusts are here to help. Whether your personal and financial affairs are simple or complex, we will arrange a face to face consultation with you so we can work together to decide which is the best course of action for you to take regarding your affairs. This consultation can be conducted in our offices or in your home, at a time which suits you. We will listen to your circumstances to come to a conclusion which is the best route for you to take.
From this point on, we offer a fixed fee service to prepare and register a Lasting Power of Attorney, so that you can have peace of mind that your affairs and estate will be managed by your spouse, partner, or one or more of your children.
To get started with some friendly advice, visit our contact page and you can get in touch in the way which suits you the best.