English law

A Power of Attorney allows someone the authority and power to make decisions on an individual’s behalf.

Lasting power of attorney

Before October 2007 individuals could draft an Enduring Power of Attorney, however, since that date this has now been replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). There are two different types of LPA’s which can be made, these are a Personal Welfare LPA which would be for decisions affecting an individual’s healthcare and personal welfare and also a Property and Affairs LPA which would be in relation to someone’s property and finances. Both types of LPA’s can be prepared separately.

Powers of Attorney can be created to only have affect in certain situations, such as if someone becomes incapable to make their own decisions.

The only caveat to preparing a LPA is that the individual making a LPA must have the required mental capacity to make such a decision. Once prepared the LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian for a fee of £120 per LPA.

The Finance and Property LPA would be made for decisions regarding bank accounts, claiming entitled benefits, taxes, recurring gifts made on an individuals behalf

The Healthcare and Welfare LPA would be used for decisions regarding consent to medical treatments, decisions regarding the domicile of the individual and general day to day activities of the individual.

Choosing an attorney

Choosing who will be an attorney is a crucial decision for anyone making a LPA. Whilst anyone over the age of 18 may be appointed as an attorney. Generally the attributes to be looked for in an attorney are trustworthiness, competence and willingness. LPA’s can appoint more than one attorneys. Decisions on various aspects of an individuals life can be split between attorney’s. One attorney may be required to make all medical related decisions whereas one attorney may be charge in all financial decisions. It is also possible to appoint replacement attorneys if one or all of the appointed attorney’s are unable to act.

When making a LPA an individual is able to choose what limits and restrictions his attorneys are placed under. An individual can also provide guidance in his LPA in order for his attorneys to be able to make better decisions for the individual. Anyone to be appointed as an attorney should be made aware of this fact before the LPA is registered.

The LPA has to be in the prescribed form which is available on the website of the Office of the Public Guardian but many people choose to instruct solicitors both for peace of mind and as a way of having an independent professional involved to assist in showing that all is above board. Darlingtons offer a cost effective general power of attorney and lasting power of attorney service in this respect.

No decisions can be made until the LPA is registered with the Office of Public Guardian, even if the form has been completed and signed.

Once a LPA has been registered, any attempted objection to the granting of the LPA must be lodged within 6 weeks.