What is a lasting power of attorney?
Lasting powers of attorneys make it possible for someone you trust to make decisions for you regarding your health, access your finances or look after your best interests, if you are incapacitated or not able to do this for yourself.
There are two types of lasting power of attorney – one for property and financial affairs and one for personal welfare.
How do lasting powers of attorney work?
Health and welfare lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney for health and welfare allows for a person to make decisions about the medical treatment and care that you receive, including decisions about if and when you should go into care, or whether to keep you on life support if you’re in a coma. It’s important to be aware that, even if a power of attorney for health and welfare has already been registered, this power can only be used at the point where you lack mental capacity.
Property and affairs lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs allows a person, nominated by you, to manage your finances, including accessing your bank account, paying your bills or buying you things that you need. If required they can also sell your home and organise the payment of your care home fees. This document can be used both whilst you have capacity and if you lose capacity in the future.
Which lasting power of attorney do I need?
If you are at all unsure whether you need a specific type of lasting power of attorney or not, please just ask and we’ll help advise you of the best option for you.
Who are lasting powers of attorney for?
As the UK’s population continues to grow and people continue to live longer we are seeing more people live into their 90’s. In turn, the number of people developing Alzheimer’s, dementia and experiencing strokes are also increasing. As causes of serious health problems and mental incapacity, it is when people start to get older that a lasting power of attorney should be a top priority.
However, a person can lose mental capacity for many reasons in addition to developing dementia. Other reasons include general medical illnesses, sporting or racing injuries, accidents at work and road traffic accidents. None of us know what the future will hold, so allowing at least one person the power to make decisions for you if you become mentally incapable of making them for yourself, is something that everyone should take the time to consider.
When to get a lasting power of attorney
Ideally, everyone would have a lasting power of attorney right now, regardless of age or health.
Even if you develop an illness and you feel your illness is under control, should you have a time when you feel under pressure or unable to cope, whoever you have as your power of attorney (such as a family member) could assist until you’re back on your feet and feeling calm. For example, they could help you with your utility providers and the payment of your mortgage, with the use of your money, until you are feeling like yourself again.
How does making a lasting power or attorney work?
The process around a lasting power of attorney is simple. There are two steps: the preparation of a lasting power of attorney and the registration of it.
The preparation of a Lasting Power of Attorney can be completed quickly, if you are using a solicitor who has experience of filling these out. Once you, a Certificate Provider and the attorneys have signed the document the Lasting Power of Attorney is valid, but it cannot be used until it has been officially registered.
The registration process can take several more weeks to be completed, so it is advisable to do this as soon as possible, instead of waiting. The lasting power of attorney itself can then be stored until it is required.
How to register a lasting power of attorney
The registration of a lasting power of attorney needs to be done with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and there is a standard fee charged by the OPG for this, which is £82 (remissions or exemptions may apply). You can get a solicitor to register your lasting power of attorney for you, or you can do this yourself online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-a-lasting-power-of-attorney
What happens if you don’t have a lasting power of attorney?
If you lose capacity before making a Lasting Power of Attorney, in order for someone that you trust to be able to make decisions on your behalf, or to access your bank accounts to pay for things like bills and mortgage payments, it would involve seeking a Court Order to appoint someone as your ‘Deputy’. This would be more expensive than creating a lasting power of attorney. It can take upwards of 4 months to become official and is a much more onerous process.
Power of attorney disputes
If you have reason to believe a Power of Attorney is being used fraudulently or have a dispute over the registration of a Lasting Power of Attorney, you should speak to a solicitor straight away. Our dispute resolution team are experienced in lasting power of attorney disputes, so getting in touch with them immediately will mean that they can commence action and help bring any suspicious activity to a rapid conclusion.
Speak to a specialist lasting powers of attorney solicitor
Contact us to discuss any enquiries you may have or feel free to pop in and see us at your local office by clicking on the links below:
Leicester call us on 0116 254 8871.
Hinckley call us on 01455 639 900.
Market Harborough call us on 01858 467 181.
Corby call us on 01536 851050.