It is always a good idea,(whatever your age) to make an Lasting Power of Attorney which enables a trusted relative or friend to take over your financial affairs or make decisions relating to your welfare or where you should live, should you be incapacitated through accident, illness or old age. There are two separate Powers of Attorney:-
- One gives authority to another or others to deal with your financial affairs and is the most used of the Lasting Power; and
- The second gives authority to deal with decisions relating to your well being. A Welfare Power gives your Attorney(s) power to make decisions about your welfare. Without that Power, in the event that you lose your mental capacity, in certain circumstances Social Services can place you into a Care Home who can then make a claim to the Courts to keep you as a resident even if your loved ones wish you to return to live with them or to your original home.
There are also still some Enduring Powers of Attorney in existence which if made before October 2007 are still valid.
A Lasting Power of Attorney continues, unless you revoke it, for the whole of your life, whether or not you lose your mental capacity at some point in the future. However, it must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and until that registration has been effected it is not valid.
It is possible and involves a saving in legal costs to make both a financial and a welfare power at the same time.
All Lasting Powers are in three parts:-
- The first part enables the person making the Power (Donor) to appoint the Attorneys of their choosing and to decide the extent of the Attorneys’ powers and if there should be any restrictions on those powers. They can also give their Attorneys guidance within the document.
- The second part is to be completed by a “Certificate Provider” this is either a professional person e.g. doctor, solicitor, accountant or dentist or someone who has known you for at least two years who must say that in their opinion you have the mental capacity to complete the Power and understand it’s meaning.
- The third part is for the Attorneys to sign if they agree to accept their appointment.
Once the Lasting Power document has been completed two other forms require completion:-
- Firstly, a third party notice needs then to be given to those chosen for this purpose by the Donor.
- Secondly, an Application for Registration must be completed and in some cases (If you are in receipt of certain benefits) together with an application for reduced Court Fees or a total exemption.
If you would like to book an appointment with one of the team or would like more advice on Lasting Powers of Attorneys you can get in touch by email or on 01634 854381.