What does a Power of Attorney do? 

You may have been told that you should have an LPA, but you are wondering, what does a Power of Attorney do? We look at how a Power of Attorney is used, the different types available and the benefits of putting one in place now. 

At Lockings Solicitors, our Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) team have wide experience in helping individuals make LPAs, as well as in providing advice to attorneys. 

If you are thinking of making an LPA, we can draft the document for you, setting out the extent of the authority you want your attorney to have, and guide you through the process of signing and registering it. 

Our Associate Director Joanne Liversidge is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and has a high level of expertise in helping clients with LPAs. She is also a Dementia Friend, with a sound understanding of how to help vulnerable individuals and their families.  

Joanne is supported by a very experienced team. You will find them to be approachable and sensitive and their advice will be clear and tailored to your unique situation. 

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have at this stage. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

What is a Power of Attorney? 

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to authorise someone to take decisions on your behalf and deal with your affairs for you. There are different types of Power of Attorney, including Lasting Powers of Attorney. These are particularly helpful as they can be used if someone no longer has the mental capacity to make their own decisions. 

The main types of Power of Attorney are as follows: 

  • A Lasting Power of Attorney, which is either: 
  • A property and financial affairs LPA; 
  • A health and welfare LPA; or  
  • A business LPA 
  • A general Power of Attorney 

When you make a Power of Attorney, you can specify what authority you want your attorney to have. If you make an LPA, to be used if you were ever to lose mental capacity, this is usually registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and then kept until it is needed. 

What does a Power of Attorney do? 

Details of the authority that is being given to an attorney will be outlined in the Power of Attorney and can be tailored to your requirements.  

The type of issues frequently dealt with include the following: 

Property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney 

An LPA can be used if someone loses the ability to manage their own affairs. It will usually be made as a safeguard, then registered and kept until it is needed, which might never happen. 

A property and financial affairs LPA can also be used if the person giving authority, known as the donor, still has mental capacity but wants help in dealing with matters. 

The types of authority granted by a property and financial affairs LPA commonly include:  

  • Managing money, including bank accounts and investments 
  • Receiving benefits on behalf of the donor 
  • Insuring and maintaining property 
  • Paying bills 
  • Making small cash gifts that the donor would have made themselves 
  • Selling the donor’s property if this becomes necessary 

Health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney 

A health and welfare LPA can only be used if the donor loses the capacity to make their own decisions. It can give the attorney a range of powers, including: 

  • Deciding where the donor will live 
  • Deciding what their daily routine will be, including what they will do and who they will see 
  • Deciding what help they will have 
  • Deciding what medical treatment they will receive and what treatment will be refused on their behalf 

Business Lasting Power of Attorney 

If you have your own business, you are also advised to consider putting a business LPA in place. This is a separate document from a property and financial affairs LPA and you can appoint different attorneys. This gives you the option to choose attorneys who have an in-depth understanding of your business and who could step in to keep it operating smoothly, should this ever be necessary. 

Once a business LPA has been registered, your attorney or attorneys could make decisions in your absence, for example, if you had to go away for a while, as well as in the event that you lost mental capacity. 

General Power of Attorney 

A general Power of Attorney can be used to give someone the authority to deal with something on your behalf if you will be away, for example, overseas or in hospital. It is commonly used for financial matters and is only used temporarily. You can include an end date when signing the document and it cannot be used if you were to lose mental capacity. It does not need to be registered before use. 

What are the benefits of having a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

Having an LPA in place will give you and your loved ones the peace of mind of knowing that you can be helped, should this ever be necessary. Without an LPA, families can be left in difficulties, should someone lose their ability to manage their own affairs.  

There are no legal rights to deal with someone’s finances or make health and welfare decisions on their behalf unless they have specifically given their authority for this in an LPA. In the event that someone loses mental capacity and does not have an LPA in place, their family would need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship order. 

This would give them some authority to make decisions, but it is a lengthy process and considerably more expensive than putting an LPA in place. It is likely to leave you unable to manage a relative’s affairs for several months while it is processed, which will mean that bills cannot be paid and it could be hard to make arrangements. 

There is also more ongoing supervision involved in a deputyship order, as well as the annual supervision fee to be paid. 

When should I sign a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

It is a good idea to have an LPA in place, along with a Will, as a provision for the future in case it is ever needed. An LPA cannot be made once someone has lost the mental capacity to understand the implications of signing it, so ideally, it needs to be put in place at once. That way, it will be available if required and you and your family will have the peace of mind of knowing that they will be able to make decisions for you if necessary. 

Once an LPA has been made, it can be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian so that it is ready for use. 

Contact our East Yorkshire and York area Power of Attorney solicitors 

If you are considering making a Power of Attorney, our expert LPA solicitors would be happy to help you.  

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have at this stage. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

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