Druitts Power of attorney solicitors specialise in providing advice on and preparing LPAs and will spend time with you to ensure that your choices…
No one knows what the future holds and it is sensible for people of all ages to plan for any possible future incapacity. As you get older this becomes even more important.
A Power of Attorney is a document which appoints someone you trust to deal with your affairs if the time comes when you are unable to manage them yourself.
There are three main types: Lasting, Enduring and General.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables you to appoint one or more persons to manage your financial affairs and property, either immediately or in the future and/or deal with your personal welfare but only on occasions when you are mentally incapable of making those decisions for yourself.
You can make an LPA at any time during your lifetime, provided you have the mental capacity to do so. An LPA is a flexible document and can be prepared to suit your personal circumstances, for example an LPA allows you to control:
- Who you want to act as your attorney. Your attorney must be someone you trust to act on your behalf. You may wish to consider a member of your family, a close friend or a professional advisor.
- How many attorneys you would like to appoint. If you decide to appoint more than one attorney, then you can decide if they are to act jointly or separately. It may be that you would like them to act jointly in some matters but individually in others.
- The appointment of a replacement attorney if your first choice were unable to act.
- The scope of your attorney’s authority. You could give them the general freedom to act in relation to what they feel is in your best interests or you may prefer to limit their authority to deal with certain aspects of your affairs.
- Decisions regarding your health and welfare. An LPA can include your wishes regarding healthcare, for example, your preference on where you would wish to live should you need long term care. Your attorney can take these views into account if in the future you lose your capacity to express them yourself. If there is any particular medical treatment that you do not want, you can record an advance decision in a Health and Welfare LPA.
Druitts specialise in providing advice on and preparing LPAs and will spend time with you to ensure that your choices are recorded properly. In addition, we can register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian to ensure that it can be used immediately should you lose capacity in the future.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
Prior to the introduction of Lasting Powers of Attorney in October 2007 it was possible to prepare a document called an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). These documents enabled someone else to make decisions about your financial affairs.
If you made a valid EPA prior to 1 October 2007 then this can continue to be used for your property and finances. If your attorney has reason to believe that you are, or are becoming, mentally incapable of dealing with your own financial affairs then they must register the EPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. It cannot be used for your health and welfare which would require a registered Health and Welfare LPA.
We have considerable experience in dealing with the registration of EPAs and once registered, in assisting clients in a cost effective manner with the day to day managements of their affairs including liaising with Social Services, care providers and their wider family.
If you do not have an EPA then it is now possible to create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
General Powers of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney is a simple document that can be prepared to give a person you trust the authority to deal with your affairs whilst you still have the mental capacity to deal with them yourself but, for some reason, you would prefer your attorney to deal with them on your behalf. This could, for example, be while you are on holiday or if you are unable to physically get to the bank. The document can give your named attorney the authority to deal with all of your affairs or can be limited to a specific purpose, eg signing papers in relation to a house sale if you are abroad.
Court of Protection and Deputyships
If you know someone who has lost mental capacity and can no longer cope with managing their property or money, it may be necessary for somebody else is needed to be responsible for their finances. If they have not prepared an Enduring Power of Attorney or a Lasting Power of Attorney then an application should be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy, the person appointed to look after another’s financial affairs.
Druitts Power of attorney solicitors can assist you in applying for a Deputyship Order or if you have previously been appointed as a Deputy then we can help you with your duties.
We recognise that managing the finances and the welfare of a relative or friend can be challenging and demanding. Our specialist solicitors can provide advice and assistance to make the role of Deputy as straightforward as possible. We also have expertise in dealing with complex situations, such as when a Deputy no longer wishes to act, where there is no other suitable Deputy and cases where there is an objection to a person being appointed as a Deputy.
We can assist with completing the annual report to the Office of the Public Guardian, completing tax returns, applying for state benefits, care home fees, dealing with their Will and other duties of a Deputy.
You can contact one of our specialist solicitors by email or telephone them on 01202 551863.