Giving you peace of mind
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a form of legal documentation that allows you to appoint someone else to make important decisions on your behalf. These decisions could relate to your property and financial affairs, health or welfare, and the person you appoint (usually referred to as your 'Attorney') will be given legal powers to manage these affairs for you.
Smith Partnership's dedicated wills and probate team has helped countless clients plan and manage their estate more effectively through Powers of Attorney. If you or a loved one is considering setting up a Power of Attorney, speak to our friendly team for expert legal advice tailored to your needs.
Types of Power of Attorney
There are two main types of Power of Attorney – ordinary Power of Attorney and Lasting Power of Attorney.
Ordinary Power of Attorney
An 'ordinary' or 'general' Power of Attorney is limited to financial decisions made on your behalf whilst you have mental capacity.
An ordinary Power of Attorney can be used to nominate someone to make important decisions either under your supervision or on a temporary basis, for example for the duration of a hospital stay or holiday. Under the arrangement, any legal authority given to your appointed attorney is automatically revoked if you lose mental capacity.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can extend beyond financial affairs to include decisions relevant to your health and wellbeing. Furthermore, an LPA is specifically designed to allow you to appoint an attorney to make decisions in your name in the case that you lose mental capacity.
Lasting Powers of Attorney officially replaced the previously used Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) in 2007, although most EPAs drafted and signed prior to 1 October 2007 are still considered valid today.
Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
There are several reasons why you may want to consider setting up a Power of Attorney. Some of the most common motivations for doing so include:
Aside from allowing you to decide who will act on your behalf in managing your affairs, a Power of Attorney puts you in control as to how these powers can be used.
Depending on your wishes, you can specify your Power of Attorney to limit the extent to which your chosen attorney is able to act. For example, you may choose to allow your attorney access to your bank account, but restrict them from investing money or selling a property that belongs to you.
A Power of Attorney also offers greater control by allowing you to appoint the person of your choice as your attorney. This way, you decide who will be entrusted to manage your affairs, as well as ensuring that those who you do not wish to act on your behalf are unable to take control.
Safeguarding Assets for the Future
An LPA can play a significant role in protecting assets in the long-term, especially in cases where the individual in question has lost mental capacity.
As life expectancy continues to rise, many people experience difficulty in managing their personal or financial affairs at an advanced age or when suffering from illnesses affecting their mental state. In cases such as these, a Lasting Power of Attorney can help ensure that a trusted friend or family member can continue to make decisions that are in the person's best interests.
Giving Your Wishes a Legal Basis
A Lasting Power of Attorney becomes legally-binding from the moment it is registered through the Office of the Public Guardian, which supervises the financial affairs of those who lack mental capacity across England and Wales. As such, an LPA provides a legal basis for appointing your chosen Attorney in a way that is recognised by every major institution.
Peace of Mind
An LPA can offer peace of mind through ensuring that arrangements have been put in place to manage your affairs no matter what happens. In turn, this takes away any uncertainties regarding who will be responsible for making the important decisions that matter to you.
Protecting Your Health and Welfare
Decisions relating to your health and welfare are incredibly important, and setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney helps ensure that you can continue to receive the right care even if you are left incapacitated. Using an LPA, you can give your Attorney permission to make decisions regarding medical treatments, your living situation and much more.
What Happens If I Don't Set Up a Power of Attorney?
If you lose mental capacity without having a valid Power of Attorney in place, the person intending to act on your behalf must apply to become a 'Deputy' through the Court of Protection. Once appointed, the decisions made by the deputy on your behalf will be reviewed on an annual basis.
Applying to the Court of Protection can bring along numerous disadvantages, including significantly higher costs and a larger amount of paperwork. Get in touch with our expert team to determine the approach that's right for you.
How We Can Help
Smith Partnership offers in-depth legal expertise relating to all aspects of Powers of Attorney, helping clients get the best out of their assets no matter what comes their way.
Our friendly and dedicated solicitors offer exceptional, jargon-free legal guidance throughout our offices in Leicester, Derby, Stoke-on-Trent, Swadlincote and Burton upon Trent. Taking a client-focused approach to every case, we can help safeguard your assets in whichever way suits you.