Power of Attorney & Lasting Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?
A power of attorney (POA) is a written document authorising a person to represent or act on another's behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter. In essence you are giving ‘power’ to decide to an ‘attorney’ (a person appointed to act for another). The document provides reassurance. It is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you're not able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.
There are 3 different types of Power of Attorney
1. Ordinary Power of Attorney – Covering decisions about your finances while you have mental capacity
2. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – Covering decisions about your finances &/or your health needs. It comes into effect if you lose mental capacity.
3. Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) – Replaced by the LPA in October 2007 it is not for consideration today, but some people may have one in place pre-dating this time. If so, it should still be valid.
People choose to appoint a POA to deal with their affairs typically if they have had an accident, fall ill, perceive that they will lose mental capacity (from Dementia for example) or they just need some help. A Power of Attorney ensures that the people you trust are legally able to act in your best interests. In essence a POA allows you to control your own future, whatever happens.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
The lasting power of attorney covers 2 areas:
1. Lasting Power of Attorney for financial decisions. A Lasting Power of Attorney for finances allows the Attorney to make decisions on your behalf. These may include paying your bills, purchase, or sale of property, managing investments. If you have a lasting power of attorney for your finances, the attorney should have separate accounts and receipted information
2. Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare decisions. A Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare allows the Attorney to make decisions on your behalf. These may include your care needs, whether this be going into a Residential/Nursing Home, receiving care in your own home, medication, nutrition. When the Power of Attorney is made you can restrict some of the decisions your attorney is able to make on your behalf. This may include decisions regarding your end-of-life plan.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
Enduring Power of Attorneys were replaced by Lasting Power of Attorneys in 2007. The Enduring Power of Attorney covered decisions about your finances and property. They do not cover decisions in relation to health and welfare. If you have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place you may wish to update this. Enduring Power of Attorney comes into effect upon loss of mental capacity. This also applies if you decide you no longer wish to be involved in making decisions.
Who can be an Attorney?
Attorneys may be a spouse, partner, friend, family member or a professional. It is important to discuss with your Attorney your wishes beforehand to ensure that they are comfortable to take on this responsibility. Often it is preferable to have more than one attorney so that they can make joint decisions. You may also find that you wish to appoint one attorney for finance and another person for health & welfare.
Arranging Power of Attorneys is easy. There are many companies that specialise in this service. We would be delighted to signpost you to organisations who can advise with regard to the Power of Attorney process.