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Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
Giving Power of Attorney is legally allowing someone you appoint to make financial decisions on your behalf such as selling your house or managing your bank account if you become incapable of making these kind of decisions yourself - or do not wish to do so.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
Before October 2007, people could grant an EPA so a trusted person could act for them if they could no longer manage their finances. Any EPA remains valid in respect of your property and affairs, whether or not it has been registered at the Court of Protection, provided that both the donor of the Power and the attorney/s signed the document prior to 1 October 2007.
Lasting powers of Attorney (LPA)
LPAs replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney from 1 October 2007.
There are two types of LPA’s:
Property and affairs LPA
You can make a property and affairs LPA to enable someone you trust (the attorney) to make decisions on your behalf about your property and affairs at a time when you are no longer able or lack the mental capacity to take those decisions yourself. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits or selling your house, subject to any restrictions or conditions you might have included.
It can only be used once it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian
Personal welfare LPA
A personal welfare LPA allows the person you have chosen as your attorney to make decisions on your behalf about both health and personal welfare, such as where to live, day-to-day care or having medical treatment.
It can only be used once it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and you have become mentally incapable of making decisions about your own welfare.
A power of attorney is an important document and you should take care whom you appoint as they should be trustworthy and have appropriate skills to make the proposed decisions. You can appoint one or more attorneys and you can appoint them to act independently on some matters and jointly on others.
From the 1st October 2007, you are able to make a new type of power of attorney, called a “lasting power of attorney” (LPA).
What if I don’t make an LPA?
If you become unable to make decisions for yourself and you haven’t got a LPA, then your family will have to go through a lengthy legal process before they are lawfully entitled to act on your behalf.
In this situation, it is the court that chooses who has the power to make decisions about your life – not you.
Making a Power of Attorney
The forms need to be carefully completed by the donor then signed by the attorneys and by an approved Certificate Provider. The forms then need to be submitted for registration to the Office of the Public Guardian with a fee of £120 per application.
You do not have to seek legal advice but an LPA is a powerful and important legal document and you may wish to seek advice from a legal adviser with experience of preparing them.
The Legal Practice Solicitors are members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE). The Legal Practice works closely with care homes and their residents as well as many elderly people making plans for their future care. We can advise you on any legal queries you may have in respect of the process, your obligations and duties.
We can visit you at your home or care home and prepare Power of Attorney documentation for a fee of £500 plus VAT.
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