Power of attorney solicitors
We are experienced in drafting a wide range of powers of attorney, for all purposes, such as to cater for the event that an individual loses capacity, to deal with a specific transaction, or for business purposes.
In our experience, the most commonly required power of attorney is Lasting Power of Attorney.
What is a lasting power of attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables individuals (known in this process as ‘the donor’) to appoint someone to make decisions about their welfare, money or property, either now or in the future.
LPAs are hugely important to legislate for the possibility of illness or incapacity preventing an individual’s day to day affairs, from financial to health decisions, from being dealt with. We advise that everybody should consider making LPAs, irrespective of their age or health.
There are two different types of LPAs:
- Property and Financial Affairs LPAs;
- Health and Welfare LPAs
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA enables an individual to appoint someone to manage their property and financial affairs at a time when they are no longer physically able to or lack the mental capacity to do so.
As with the Health and Welfare LPA, a Property and Financial Affairs LPA can only be used once the form has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. However, this can be used even if the individual still has mental capacity.
A Health and Welfare LPA enables individuals to choose one or more people to make decisions for them relating to their health and personal welfare, such as where they live or their medical treatment, in the event of them becoming mentally incapable. A Health and Welfare LPA also enables individuals to empower their attorneys to give or refuse life sustaining treatment on their behalf, if they so choose.
Such an LPA can only be used once it has been has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and the individual concerned has become mentally incapable of making their own decisions.
Who should make a Lasting Power Attorney?
In our view, everybody. Anyone can, of course, potentially become physically or mentally incapable as a result of an illness or accident regardless of how old they are.
A will operates after death but it is a wise precaution to have appointed attorneys that you trust to make important decisions and take important actions on your behalf should the need arise during your lifetime.
Lots of our clients choose to execute LPAs at the same time as making their wills, giving them peace of mind that they have made plans for both after their death and during their lifetime.
Who can I choose as my attorney?
In theory, anyone who is over 18 can be an attorney save for, in the case of an attorney appointed to a Property and Financial Affairs LPA only, he or she must not be a bankrupt.
When choosing your attorney or attorneys, however, it is obviously important to choose someone who can be trusted implicitly. This is often one or more family members, trusted friends or professional advisers.
If more than one attorney is appointed, they can be appointed “jointly” (in which case they must do everything together) or “jointly and severally” (in which case they can act together or individually) in relation to all issues.
It is also possible to appoint a replacement attorney to act in place of first named attorneys, if they become unable to act in the future.