What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint a person or persons whom you trust to act as your Attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney namely a Property and Affairs and a Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. You can make either or both.
The Attorney(s) can only act within the guidelines as set out by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
What is a Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney?
This gives your Attorney(s) the authority to make decisions about your property and financial affairs. Once registered your Attorney has the authority to make decisions for you whether or not you lack capacity, subject to any restrictions you consider necessary.
Your Attorney is able to pay bills, have access to bank/building society accounts, buy and sell property and deal with your general financial affairs, subject to any restrictions you may wish to make.
What is a Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
This gives your Attorney(s) the authority to make decisions about personal welfare, which can include where and with whom you should live, day to day care and diet, consent or refusal to medical treatment and where specifically granted by you for your Attorney(s) to make decisions about life sustaining treatment. Again this is subject to any restrictions you may impose on your Attorney(s).
As the Attorney(s) can only act when you have lost capacity, if you wish them to give consent to medical treatment and/or life sustaining treatment it is prudent to register this immediately. The registration process takes a number of weeks and without it being registered they would not be able to make the decisions you require them to if an emergency situation arose.
Who can make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Anyone aged over 18 and who has the mental capacity to do so.
Who can be my Attorney(s)?
Anyone aged over 18 and anyone you choose and trust such as a close friend, relative or even a solicitor.
When can the Lasting Power of Attorney be used?
Immediately, once the document is formally registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, but in the case of a Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney this can only be used when you lack the capacity to make a decision.
Why Should I have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
It enables you to appoint someone you trust to look after your affairs, ensuring they are in the capable hands of that person. You are able to decide any restrictions or guidance for your Attorney(s) to follow when making such decisions.
If you lose your capacity without having appointed anyone under a Lasting Power of Attorney then the Court can appoint someone to deal with your affairs and that may be someone you would not have chosen.
Can I have any input into decisions made under a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Once registered the Attorney(s) must follow the principals and code of conduct of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, meaning they must consult you as far as possible with respect to any decisions made under the Lasting Power of Attorney.
Can the Lasting Power of Attorney be revoked?
Yes, at any time assuming you retain your mental capacity.
How much will it cost?
There are separate legal costs for both the creation of and registration of each of the Lasting Powers of Attorney. There are also Court fees payable on registration. As experienced power of attorney solicitors in Darlington we will give you an estimate of the likely costs at your first appointment.
What should I do now?
Please make an appointment with our Wills, Probate and Trust team. On attending your appointment it would be useful if you could bring information about your assets, ongoing financial commitments and income together with names and addresses of proposed Attorney(s).
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