What is a Power of Attorney?

You may have heard that it is a good idea to have a Power of Attorney (PoA), but you are not quite sure why or how the process works. Below, we answer the question, What is a Power of Attorney? and explain some of the main benefits.

A Power of Attorney is a document that gives someone authority to deal with matters on your behalf. There are different types, and you can ask someone to handle your finances for you and/or your health and welfare.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a type of PoA that can be used if you should ever lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions. You need to sign it while you still have the ability to manage your own affairs. Once it has been signed, it can be kept in case it is ever needed.

At Lockings Solicitors, we advise on and prepare Powers of Attorney, including Lasting Powers of Attorney. Associate Director and Head of Private Client, Joanne Liversidge, has particular expertise in this area of law. She is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national law organisation that specialises in helping older and vulnerable clients. She is also a Dementia Friend and has a strong understanding of the condition and the challenges it presents.

Our team have exceptional experience in helping clients with Powers of Attorney and are friendly, understanding and approachable. We know that putting safeguards in place for the future can be daunting and we will always do all we can to explain everything thoroughly and guide you through the process.

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 types of Power of Attorney are there?

There are Powers of Attorney available for a range of situations. The main types include:

  • General Power of Attorney
  • Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs
  • Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare
  • Lasting Power of Attorney for business
  • Enduring Power of Attorney – no longer available to make, but you can still use existing ones

General Power of Attorney

A general Power of Attorney or ordinary Power of Attorney gives someone authority to deal with your financial affairs on a short-term basis, for example, while you are away. It cannot be used if you lose mental capacity.

Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs

A property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to appoint someone to represent you should you lose the ability to make your own decisions.

Matters that your attorney can handle on your behalf include:

  • Paying bills
  • Insuring and maintaining your property
  • Collecting benefits and pension payments
  • Making investments
  • Where necessary, dealing with the sale of your home

This type of LPA can also be used if you still have mental capacity.

Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare

A Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare can only be used if you lose the ability to make your own decisions. Your attorney under this type of LPA will be able to step in to arrange your care and manage health matters for you.

Matters they can deal with include:

  • Where you will live
  • What care you will have
  • What your day to day routine will look like
  • Who you will see and what you will do
  • What medical treatment you will receive or refuse

Lasting Power of Attorney for business

If you are a business owner, you can make an LPA giving someone the authority to handle business matters, should you be away or incapacitated. You may want to choose a different attorney to the individual who will be handling your personal finances.

The LPA can be used both while you have capacity and in the event that you lose it. All business owners should ideally have a business LPA in place to allow a trusted attorney to take over if necessary. Without this, your organisation could be damaged if you were not able to deal with financial matters or make decisions for any reason.

Enduring Power of Attorney

Since October 2007, it has no longer been possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), as they were replaced with LPAs at this point. However, if you have an EPA in place, it can still be used.

You may want to consider replacing it with an LPA however, as they are more flexible.

An EPA does not cover health and welfare issues, so if you want to put someone in place to help you, should it ever be necessary, you will need a health and welfare LPA.

Why do I need a Power of Attorney?

Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, your loved ones might have difficulties in helping you, should you ever need it. They would not be able to access your bank account, authorise care or pay bills on your behalf.

They would need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your deputy. This is a lengthier process than making an LPA and is also more expensive. While the application is being dealt with, no-one will be able to deal with your affairs, so your family might find the situation problematic.

Once a deputy is appointed, there is more ongoing supervision than with an LPA, with annual charges and the need to prepare and file annual accounts and an annual report.

Having an LPA will give you the peace of mind of knowing that, should you ever need it, your attorney will be able to step in straightaway and help you.

How do I make a Power of Attorney?

The first step is to consider what you want your attorney to be able to do for you. For many people, having both a property and financial affairs LPA and a health and welfare LPA is ideal. This means that everything can be taken care of, should it ever be necessary.

You can have a different attorney for each type of LPA if you want. You can also have more than one attorney for each LPA. For example, you could appoint two attorneys under a property and financial affairs LPA. You can state whether you want them to be able to act individually or whether you want them to make decisions together.

You can also specify what you want your attorney to be able to do. You might want to restrict them from taking certain decisions or require that some larger decisions are made jointly, such as whether to sell your home.

You can speak to an expert LPA solicitor who will be able to talk through your options with you and give you the guidance that you need to put the right documents in place.

Contact our East Yorkshire Power of Attorney solicitors

If you would like one of our LPA lawyers to advise you, we would be happy to hear from you. We can discuss your situation and what you would like to achieve with an LPA. We can also talk about choosing the right attorney and what authority you want to give them.

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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