To find out more about powers of attorney, please watch the video or read the notes below.
Types of Power of Attorney.
There are many different types of Power of Attorney, with the first two being essential parts of the Estate Planning of anyone over 18 who currently has the ability to make their own decisions. The cost of NOT being prepared can be very high in emotional and financial terms.
1) Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Affairs
The Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs allows you to choose one or more people to make property and financial affairs decisions for you, if you are unable to, or perhaps just wish to let others take the strain. This could include decisions about paying bills or selling your home. You can appoint someone as an attorney to look after your property and financial affairs at any time provided you have “mental capacity.” Mental capacity is broadly the ability to weigh information and make an informed decision. You can also include a condition that means the attorney can only make decisions when you lose the ability to do so yourself. Before October 2007, Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) provided the same functions. If you have one of those you may only need the Health and Welfare LPA. If you need to amend anything on an Enduring Power of Attorney, your only option is to write a new Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney and cancel the EPA.
Business people who don’t have these may also risk their businesses folding even if they become temporarily unable to manage through a car accident or stroke. Call us, it should be a business expense!
2) The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to choose one or more folk to make decisions for you. Things such as medical treatment, where you live, who you see, what you eat etc. A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used if you lack the ability to make decisions for yourself and are unlikely to recover sufficiently to be able to make the necessary decision with a reasonable time. The length of time will depend on the importance and urgency of the situation. If you don’t have one and things go wrong, then Social Services may take away any illusions of control that you family may think they have over such decisions.
No Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you fail to take the basic precautions of organising both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney and perhaps have a car accident, stroke, trip over a paving stone and lose the ability to make decisions, someone with have to apply to be appointed as your Court of Protection DEPUTY and it may well be Social Service, a solicitor or a family member you don’t like – the Court of Protection will make the decision based only on the evidence they see.
3) General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney may only be used when a person is in full possession of their wits and using one where this is not the case may result in Court proceedings.
The general power of attorney is intended to be a relatively simple document enabling another person to do things for you in the relatively short term. For example, if you had to go on holiday while in the middle of buying and selling homes, your solicitor would get you to sign a general power of attorney so he or she could sign the transfer documents and contracts for you.
Another example (and one often used illegally) would be to allow you son or daughter or a friend to collect pension or other payments,
4) Advance Directive or Medical Directive
These potentially allow others to be involved in medical decisions ONLY and to represent your views. They are not nearly as wide or powerful as the Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare above.
We hope that helped – why not give our Estate Planning team a call to get the protection of Powers of Attorney? 01323 406299.