Power of Attorney
Published: 23 May 2017
As we move through life and take on greater responsibilities, we often find that our thoughts turn to the long term future. Whilst you may not want to consider the possibility of illness, disability or even death; careful preparation will make any difficult situation easier not only for you, but also the ones you love. If you are married or in a civil partnership you might have assumed that your spouse will be able to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf. This is not the case - without a Lasting Power of Attorney they still don’t have the authority.
What do we mean by Lasting Power of Attorney?
Last month the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) reduced the cost of registering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) with them from £110 to £82. The Government hope this will lead to even more people taking out LPAs, allowing peace of mind for everyone involved. But exactly what do we mean by Power of Attorney?
Power of Attorney comes in two different forms. An Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA) will let someone - your Attorney - to make financial decisions on your behalf. It’s only applicable when you still have full mental capacity but are temporarily unable to act for yourself, such as when in hospital or on holiday.
Alternatively, Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone legal permission to make decisions on your behalf at some point in the future. There are two types of LPAs available, one for Property and Financial decisions and the second for Health and Welfare. Therefore, the Lasting Power of Attorney is not only relevant to any financial affairs that must be tackled, but can also be applied to decisions regarding your health and social care needs.
What does the process involve?
Only you can instruct a Solicitor or other skills based provider that you wish to register a LPA with the Office of Public Guardian. You must be able to show that you have enough mental capacity to understand the instructions and the implications of allowing someone else to have Lasting Power of Attorney over your affairs, and that you are not signing the document under duress or pressure from another. Usually confirmation of this will be given by someone acting as the ‘Certificate Provider’. This will either be a GP, Solicitor or maybe someone not acting in a professional capacity, such as a close friend, who has known the Donor for over two years.
Just like writing a Will, it is important to think ahead and get everything in place before a crisis situation occurs. It will take a number of weeks to complete the process and time is of the essence if an emergency occurs.
How can Burn and Co help?
As Power of Attorney involves giving responsibilities to others at what can be a vulnerable time, many of our Clients feel more comfortable having discussed the process with their legal representative. Burn and Co will ensure that you understand each step of the process from start to finish. Our team will advise you on any restrictions and the use of correct wording to prevent complications in the future.
If you would like to know more about Lasting Power of Attorney call 01904 655442 to book an appointment and speak to us about how you can make these preparations for the future, and ensure that the decision making powers are kept with those you trust.