Power of Attorney, Deputy and Wills
The following content explains how you can legally make decisions for other adults.
Power of Attorney
The person making the power of attorney and granting the authority is known as the donor. The person granted the authority to act is known as the attorney.
Since 1st September 2007, it has been possible to make a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Ordinary Power of Attorney. (Enduring Power of Attorneys signed before this date are still valid).
An Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA) enables you to grant authority to an individual, usually for a short period of time to act on your behalf for a specific reason. This could be to carry out a transaction for you whilst you are away or to act on your behalf with the bank. An OPA is only valid whilst you still have mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.
If it has been determined that you may need to appoint someone for you as you are starting to find it difficult to make decisions, you may need a Lasting Power of Attorneys.
There are two forms of Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPA). These are:
- An LPA that grants authority in relation to the donor’s property and financial affairs.
This type of LPA can allow, for example, the attorney to pay the donor’s bills, sell their property or investments and operate their bank accounts. The attorney can use the LPA while the donor still has capacity, unless the donor specifies otherwise in the LPA.
- An LPA that grants authority in relation to the donor’s health and welfare.
This type of LPA can only be used when the donor loses capacity (or the attorney reasonably believes that the donor has lost capacity). The attorney can make decisions about the donor’s medical treatment, but the attorney cannot make decisions about life-sustaining treatment unless the donor specifically permits this in the LPA. The attorney can also make decisions, for example, about the donor’s diet, where they live and how they spend their time, unless the donor specifies otherwise in the LPA.
You can only grant a LPA if you still have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.
If someone lacks capacity to make decision, they can no longer grant a Power of Attorney. The only way to obtain authority to act on their behalf is to apply to the Court of Protection to become that person’s deputy. As with LPA’s, a deputy is either appointed to look after the individual’s property and financial affairs or health and welfare. The Court of Protection can appoint a deputy for both.
As people, we may not want to think the end of our lives; however, it is prudent to make arrangements as to what should happen when we do die.
A Will sets out your wishes and feelings about how your estate should be disposed of or whether you wish to create a legacy by donating your assets to charity. Your Will can specifically deal with customs and traditions that should be observed as regards to your burial or whether you wish to be cremated.
If you have children under the age of 18 years old, you could stipulate in your Will who should become your children’s guardian.
For further advice, contact us on 0116 340 0094 for a consultation…