Where an individual requires care, and is able to give their consent, it may be advisable for a member, or members of their family to be granted a power of attorney. This gives them the power to act legally on their relative’s behalf for financial and property matters, plus decisions on welfare and medical treatment. Although not mandatory, it is advisable to establish a lasting power of attorney through a solicitor.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney enables someone else to manage your affairs on your behalf when you are no longer able to or no longer want to.
The variety of Power of Attorney include:
- Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney
- Heath & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
- Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
- Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA)
An LPA is a legal document which allows you to choose someone to make decisions for you when you no longer want to or are no longer able to. LPA replaced the previous system of Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in 2007, and gives your representative the right to manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf. There are two types of LPA – one for Property and Financial Affairs and for Health and Welfare.
Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA enables you to give an attorney the power to make any decisions as if they were you (acting in your best interests of course).
The LPA needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) in England and Wales before the person can act on your behalf.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power or Attorney
A Health and Welfare LPA enables someone of your choice to make decision about some or all of your health and welfare matters. Your appointed attorney(s) will only be able to make decisions after the LPA is registered with the OPG.
Enduring Power of Attorney
Although LPA replaced Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in 2007, EPAs that were made before 1 October 2007 can still be used. EPAs must be registered with the OPG (Office of the Public Guardian) if the donor is losing mental capacity. EPA only covers property and finances.
Ordinary Power of Attorney
Another type of PoA is known as Ordinary Power of Attorney which only covers property and finances and ceases if the donor loses mental capacity. Ordinary PoA never needs to be registered with any authorities.
When to set up an Lasting Power of Attorney
Anyone aged 18 or over can make an LPA appointing one or more attorneys to act on their behalf. It is important to make the LPA while you are still capable of making decisions about who to appoint as your attorneys and what powers you want to give them. The LPA cannot be used until it is registered with the OPG, which you can do at any point after it has been made. Even after it has been registered, your attorneys will have to act within any restrictions or conditions you have set out in the LPA form.
For more information on this subject, we recommend reading the Citizen’s Advice guide to POA, which can be found here.
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