A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which one a person gives another person, or persons, (the attorney) authority to make certain decisions on his or her behalf.
There are two types of LPAs:
As with any Power of Attorney, the LPA is an important document and you should take care whom you appoint. Clearly they should be trustworthy and have appropriate skills to make the proposed decisions.
If you appoint more than one attorney, you can appoint them to always act together (jointly) or together or separately (jointly and independently). You may even appoint them to act jointly for some things and jointly and independently for others, although this should only be done with advice, as it may cause problems when using the power.
You may also choose to appoint a successor to your attorney, in case they die or otherwise cannot act for you. This is known as a replacement attorney.
The attorney will only be able to act when the LPA has been signed by you and your attorney, and certified by a person (a certificate provider) to show that you understand the nature and scope of the LPA and have not been unduly pressured into making the power.
The certificate will also need to confirm there has not been any fraud or other reason why you cannot make the power. The LPA must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
The financial LPA can be used both when you have mental capacity to act, as well as if you lack mental capacity to make a financial decision. The welfare power can only be used if you lack mental capacity to make a welfare or medical decision.
Any Enduring Power of Attorney, validly made before 1st October 2007, will continue to be able to be used but only in respect of your property and financial affairs.
We can advise on these and when the need for registration of this document arises and the costs involved.
On limited occasions a General Power of Attorney may be appropriate to deal with certain issues.
A General Power of Attorney is limited and only inures whilst the donor has capacity.
If you lack capacity to make a financial decision, then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for an appropriate order, such as appointing another person (a Deputy) to make decisions on your behalf.
This is both costly and time consuming.
You are choosing who you wish to make decisions on your behalf, often avoiding costly disputes.
We can assist you in the preparation and completion of an appropriate Power of Attorney and advise you as to whom you wish to act for you and the kind of decisions you wish your attorney(s) to make on your behalf.
The forms are lengthy and at times a bit daunting. If you do not complete the forms correctly this can lead to them being invalid and your attorneys being unable to act for you, perhaps when they are most needed!
We would also normally act as the professional certificate provider and assist you with the application for registration with the Office of the Public Guardian which, if not completed correctly can result in applications being rejected, a new LPA having to be completed and additional registration fees being incurred.
We can help you to avoid any unnecessary delays and unnecessary costs. The documentation is lengthy and we would normally expect to have at least two meetings – one to go through the procedure and then on the second meeting to ensure that you understand the nature of the documentation and indeed to go through it fully with you. At this stage, we would also normally act as certificate provider.
If you would like to talk to a specialist solicitor about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please feel free to get in touch and explain your requirements with a no-obligation enquiry.
If you would prefer, you can also call our team on 01684 299633.
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