A power of attorney is a document by which you can give somebody the authority to act on your behalf. The person given the power is known as “the donor”. There are several different types of power, with the most straightforward one being a general power to manage the donor’s property and financial affairs – this is useful to cover a temporary absence or illness. However, a general power would not be valid if the donor loses mental capacity through age, illness, accident or infirmity or if they have learning disabilities or have suffered a brain injury.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) can survive incapacity and allow the donor to nominate trusted individuals (known as the “Attorneys”) to manage their property & finances and/or health & welfare in circumstances where they can no longer make these decisions themselves. LPAs must be registered with a government body, known as the Office of the Public Guardian, before they can be used by the Attorneys.
An LPA for property & financial affairs allows your Attorney to make decisions in relation to the sale or purchase of your property, managing your bank accounts and investments, paying your bills and dealing with your tax affairs. An LPA for health & welfare allows your Attorney to make decisions about the type of healthcare and medical treatment you receive (including life-sustaining treatment), where you should live and day-to-day matters such as your diet and daily routine.
Some clients may have made Enduring Powers of Attorney (“EPAs”). Since 31 October 2007, EPAs can no longer be made, as the law changed to provide for LPAs. However, provided EPAs were in existence prior to this date, they can still be used to manage an individual’s property and finances in the event of incapacity. As the law has changed in this area significantly, if you have made an EPA prior to 31 October 2007, we would be happy to discuss with you whether this document is still appropriate or whether you should consider putting in place LPAs.
All members of our team are highly experienced in the preparation and registration of LPAs. We understand that this can be a sensitive and distressing time for the family and are committed to ensuring the process is as simple and as smooth as possible.
Where there is no LPA or EPA in place and an individual lacks capacity, an application will have to be made to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy to manage the individual’s affairs. For further information, please click here.