People often ask us about these. They are an extremely useful way of keeping a level of continuity of control of your affairs should you become too ill to manage.
A general Power of Attorney allows someone to act on your behalf so, for example, if you were going abroad and you needed some documents signing, a Power of Attorney would give a relative or a trusted friend the ability to sign those documents for you.
A Lasting Power of Attorney has one special feature. It enables someone to act on your behalf when you are no longer mentally or physically able to do so.
There are two types:-
a) A Health and Safety Power which would give your trusted friend or relative (who you would have appointed under the Power of Attorney) can help manage personal health care, medical care, care home decisions, life sustaining treatment and things like that and, as you will appreciate therefore, this needs to be someone that you trust to act in your best interests. This kind of Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used firstly once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and only once your Attorney is satisfied that you are no longer able to manage your own affairs.
b) The second kind of LPA is a property and financial power which enables your Attorney to deal with some of the more mundane aspects of daily life which sometimes we take for granted but can prove to be very difficult if there is no one around to manage them. These are things like getting benefits, paying bills, even the larger items like selling houses. This kind of power will allow your Attorney to act immediately it is registered with the OPG but, of course, that may be too early from your point of view. It is therefore perfectly possible to put a condition on these kinds of Powers of Attorney that someone could only act once you have are no longer able to do so.
You can use substitute Attorneys, people you would want to be notified in the event that the Power of Attorney is registered and all of it is overseen by the Court. There is therefore a comprehensive system of safeguards, checks and balances to make sure your interests are at all times fully respected.
The key to these is not to leave it till “the last minute”. You can only give a Power of Attorney of any kind provided you are fully able to understand the full effect of what you are doing. Unfortunately, people become progressively ill and put off dealing with this admittedly very difficult issue until sometimes it is too late. If that happens, then your nearest and dearest can only help you by making a formal application to the Court of Protection which adds substantially to the time taken and the cost that will ultimately have to be paid. This can be very inconvenient for a number of reasons i.e. delay in that process could mean benefits could not be collected just as one example.
We do obviously understand that these are very personal and sensitive issues and our specialist team would be here to advise you so that you can have the peace of mind to know that if the worst happens, your interests are fully protected.
Faye Remnant is part of our Family Law team based in Loughborough; our Solicitors in Loughborough are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Loughborough please contact us.
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The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.