Thinking about the Future and AWME
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a document whereby you, as the person making the Power (and called the donor) appoint a person or people to be able to act on your behalf, if you are unable to do so for any reason. The people you appoint are called attorneys.
There are 4 types of Power of Attorney although one type – the Enduring Power of Attorney – can no longer be made, but you may already have one in place which is still valid.
We recommend that you carefully consider putting suitable Powers of Attorney in place as they can really help you and those who care for you to deal with things quickly and easily if need arose. They are particularly useful if you were to lose the ability to do things for yourself in the future e.g. due to illness or injury.
What sorts of Power of Attorney are there?
General Power of Attorney (GPA)
A GPA allows you to appoint a person or people to action your decisions for you if you are unable to do so. They are really useful if, for example, you are going to be away on holiday but are dealing with a property purchase or sale. In your absence, a GPA enables someone else to sign on your behalf but only where you make all the decisions and direct them as to what to do. In effect it is a document that appoints your attorneys to be your agent.
If you lose capacity, a GPA can no longer be used as the attorneys have no decision making powers.
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
These are only relevant if they were made and signed prior to 1 October 2007 as they have now been replaced by Lasting Power of Attorney. However, if you or someone you know already has an EPA in place, it can continue to be used.
An EPA enables the appointed attorneys to deal with the donor's property and financial matters. Whilst the donor has capacity, the EPA operates a bit like a GPA – with the attorneys able to act for the donor if that is helpful. If and when the donor loses capacity, the attorneys can then take over decision making for the donor – and the EPA must be registered at that time with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Finances (LPAF)
An LPAF enables your appointed attorneys to act on behalf of the donor, and if the donor loses capacity it enables them to take over decision making for the donor. They are really useful documents as they enable your financial affairs to continue to be managed for the donors benefit – even through the donor themselves can no longer manage their finances.
An LPAF has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. It enables the donor to choose who is appointed to act on their behalf – and also to consider how they are appointed and how decisions must be made for them. For example, if more than one attorney is appointed, do they all need to act together or is the donor happy for any one of them to act on their own?
The LPAF also enables the donor to include any guidance or requirements that are important to them e.g. asking them to ensure that payments to charities they support continue for as long as possible or that accounts are regularly produced and information is shared with other people if that was important.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health, Care and Welfare
You can also make an LPA to appoint your attorneys to be able to make decisions about your health, care and welfare matters. This LPA can ONLY be used if the donor cannot make the decision for themselves and again it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
This LPA means that you can appoint your attorneys to speak on your behalf about the medical treatment you might receive, where you might live or even whether or not you have life sustaining treatment. It enables you to appoint someone to speak on your behalf regarding your care and your health when you are no longer able to do so.
How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
When appointing an attorney, there is a lot to think about to make sure you appoint the person or people with the right skills and give them the right powers to help you as much as you may need. We would always recommend that you take appropriate legal advice to make sure that your individual circumstances are best protected. More information on how to make LPAs can be found at https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney
Should you any have further questions, please call to speak to our Finance Manager or Managing Director on +44 (0)1922 473300.