LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
If for whatever reason, you lost the ability to manage your affairs, you may think that your partner and family would be able to act of your behalf. Unfortunately, this is not the case, a Lasting Power of Attorney is required to enable this to happen.
Without such a form in place, an application has to be made to The Court of Protection to obtain the legal right to make decisions on your behalf. This process is both lengthy and costly; occurring at a point when time could be of the essence. It could happen that the person appointed by the court is not the person you would have chosen.
In completing such forms, you will be appointing the person(s) that you trust to make the right decisions for you – these are known as Attorneys. They will only make decisions whilst you are alive, when you are unable to do so. You can provide these people with guidance regarding their powers and how you would like them to exercise them.
Once completed and signed, these forms are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian; which I can handle on your behalf. By registering the document immediately, the Attorney will be able to use the power as soon as it is needed. Ideally, they should be kept with your Will until such a time they are required to take effect.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a complex matter but extremely beneficial for you and your family as it protects your position and ensures provision for you and your family should your health deteriorate.
In some ways, a Lasting Power of Attorney is more important than making a Will and deserves careful consideration and preparation by a specialist.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
Property and Financial Affairs – your Attorneys can make financial decisions relating to selling your home, controlling your bank accounts and claiming benefits on your behalf. It also allows your attorneys to deal with the payment of care home fees or care at home packages.
Health and Welfare – your Attorneys are permitted to make decisions relating to your living accommodation and care package. This is becoming increasingly important when dealing with hospitals and social services. Decisions can also be made regarding your medical treatment including giving or refusing life-sustaining treatment if you decide to issue that power to your Attorneys.