Anyone who is aged 18 or older who has the mental ability to make decisions for themselves can arrange for someone else to make these decisions for them in the future. This legal authority is called “power of attorney“. A power of attorney gives the attorney the legal authority to deal with third parties such as banks or the local council.
There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf.
It could just be temporary: for example, if you are in hospital and need help with everyday things such as making sure that bills are paid. Or you may need to make more long-term plans if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia.
There are two types of power of attorney: ordinary and lasting.
How to grant an ordinary power of attorney
You can give someone power of attorney to deal with all your financial affairs or only certain matters, for example, to operate a bank account, to buy and sell property or change investments. An ordinary power of attorney which only gives authority to deal with certain matters is also known as a limited power of attorney.
This is a legal document giving someone else authority to act on your behalf. It is only valid while you still have mental capacity to make your own decisions about your finances, so that you can keep an eye on what the person making decisions for you (your attorney) is doing.
There is a standard form of words to use if you want to grant an ordinary power of attorney. If you want to grant an ordinary power of attorney, you should contact a solicitor or an experienced adviser e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.
How to make a lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney gives someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf, if either you’re unable to in the future or you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
You must make a lasting power of attorney whilst you’re still able to make decisions for yourself. You should choose the person (or people) who you want to look after your affairs very carefully. The person you choose to look after your affairs is called an attorney. You can appoint one person or multiple people to handle your affairs jointly.
There are 2 types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
1) Personal health & welfare LPA
2) Property and financial affairs LPA
You will need to fill in a form, which you can get from the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk. There is one form for a property and financial affairs LPA (LPA PA) and a different form for a personal health & welfare LPA (LPA PW). If you want someone to look after your financial affairs and your personal welfare, you will need to make two separate LPAs and fill in both forms.
There are notes which come with the forms which tell you exactly what to do. You should read these very carefully.
Registering an enduring power of attorney
An enduring power of attorney deals only with property and affairs. Enduring powers of attorney (EPA) has been replaced by lasting power of attorney (LPA). However, if you made and signed an EPA before 1 October 2007, it’s still valid.
To continue using an EPA after someone has lost their mental capacity, the EPA must first be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The EPA must be registered by the person who will be managing someone else’s affairs (the attorney). Before you register the EPA, you must notify certain people that you are going to register it. This is done on a form which you must send to all the following people:
- the person whose affairs you are going to manage (the donor)
- any other attorneys if there are more than one
- At least three of the donor’s nearest relatives.
Once you have given this notice, you can apply to register the EPA on form EP2PG to the Office of the Public Guardian. There is a registration fee, although some people won’t have to pay it. You can find out the latest information about fees from the Ministry of Justice website at www.justice.gov.uk.
If you or a family member want to set up a power of attorney we recommend that you take legal advice and also start the process well in advance as it can take a few months to get this set up. As this is a big and serious commitment; More Than Mobility would advise that you read through this information on the Citizen’s Advice Website.
More Than Mobility Team