Everyone – young or old – should think ahead and consider setting up a Power of Attorney which appoints a person (or persons) to deal with your property and financial affairs or health and welfare, if you should become incapable of doing so yourself.
Meet Lesley Rushton, Head of Private Client:
What is Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney allows you to safeguard your future should you become ill or have an accident. In order to complete a Power of Attorney, you must have the mental capacity to understand the documentation and its implications.
If the person who needs a Power of Attorney has already lost capacity an application will have to be made to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy instead.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
An LPA is a legal document which allows you (the Donor) to choose someone that you trust (the Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf in the future when you no longer want to or are no longer capable of making those decisions yourself. You will have to complete a lasting Power of Attorney form. Your appointed Attorney has a duty to act in your best interests in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
There are two types of LPAs:
Property and Financial Affairs LPA: This allows your Attorney to make decisions about dealing with your bank accounts, paying bills and selling your home. These are valid if you have your mental faculties and simply require your Attorney’s help and assistance in dealing with your finances on your behalf. They also remain valid if you should lose mental capacity in the future.
Health and Welfare LPA: This allows your Attorney to make decisions about life sustaining treatment, your care and where you live. These only come into effect if you should no longer have capacity.
The Lasting Powers of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
If you would like to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact one of our expert Lawyers.
A Power of Attorney allows you to safeguard your future should you become ill or have an accident.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
You can no longer complete an EPA as they were replaced on 1 October 2007 by Lasting Powers of Attorney. If you have an existing EPA this is still valid and will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) if you should lose your mental faculties. Please contact one of our Lawyers for details on how to register an EPA.
Court of Protection
If a relative or friend has lost capacity and doesn’t have an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney in place, someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become their Deputy. The Deputy, once appointed, will be able to deal with the financial affairs of the person who has lost capacity. Applying to become a Deputy is a long and complicated procedure.
Dee Delo, Girlings' Client Liaison Manager, can help you with Court of Protection Applications and also to understand the responsibilities that come with the role of Deputyship.
Girlings has joined the ‘Dementia Friendly’ campaign and Charlotte Parsons, a Paralegal in our Private Client team is a Dementia Friend Champion working with staff to become Dementia friends. Find out more from Charlotte about becoming a Dementia Friend.
We Work with You
For further information on Powers of Attorney and the Court of Protection, contact a member of our Private Client team today or call into your local office.