- Ordinary or General Power of Attorney. A short form document that can only be used while the donor still has mental capacity.
- Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. For use, after mental capacity is lost, a document that enables trusted parties to make decisions for others on matters such as life sustaining treatments.
- Property and Finance Lasting Power of Attorney. For use both after and/or before mental capacity is lost, this document allows management of financial matters for a loved one.
- Enduring Power of Attorney. An instrument that was replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney in 2007.
A Power of Attorney (“POA”) is a legal document by which one person (“the donor”) gives another person (“the attorney”) the power to act on their behalf. It’s a major decision for both parties to undertake.
The donor has to be sure that he/she is happy to hand over personal responsibilities to someone they completely trust, giving them the power to make decisions on their behalf, sometimes life changing decisions, depending on the type of POA they choose.
The first and foremost consideration for the donor is the reason why they are considering it.
Is it simply that they are getting older and are aware that as age creeps on it can bring with it the prospect of dementia or illness which would render them incapable of conducting their own affairs?
Or maybe a spouse/partner has died and the person left behind on their own doesn’t feel capable of handling certain aspects of life, such as financial affairs, investments etc. and wishes to relinquish the responsibility.
Sometimes the onset of disease or long-term illness brings with it the realisation that in the future decisions about care and welfare may have to be made for and when the person concerned may be incapable of making such decisions.
One thing is clear and that is that the donor has to be able to completely trust the person they choose to be their attorney to act in their best interest. They also have to be satisfied that the person they choose is capable of administering their affairs.
Having chosen the Attorney, it is then important to choose the most suitable POA;
- ORDINARY or GENERAL POWER OF ATTORNEY can provide the attorney with general authority over the donor’s estate. It can be limited to particular transactions and for a particular period of time, for instance if the donor required an attorney to act for them in their absence whilst working or living abroad for a period of time. It cannot be used for personal welfare.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:
- Property & Finance Lasting Power of Attorney
Gives the attorney the power to manage the donor’s financial affairs in a responsible manner and in the best interest of the donor. Such factors may affect residential care, and avoid bills going unpaid.
- Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
A Health and Welfare Attorney makes, or helps the donor to make decisions about their daily care, medical care and if necessary where the donor resides. Consents for critical medical treatments may depend on a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
- New Enduring Powers of Attorney may not be made as these have now been replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney.
It is well to remember that;
- Lasting Powers of Attorney are put in place to help and protect people in their time of need.
- The person invited to act on their behalf, the attorney, also has to make the decision to accept the responsibility based on the amount of work involved and the trust bestowed upon them.
- In the unfortunate event that you lose mental capacity for whatever reason and a Lasting Power of Attorney is not in place, The Court of Protection would appoint a Deputy. This would require a court order and annual supervision which would incur significant delays and fees.
If you would like support in creating these critical documents visit www.confidencewills.co.uk or call 0121 231 7010.