Power of Attorney is the legal authorisation for another to represent or act on your behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter.
There are a number of reasons why you might need to do this, from simply making sure that your bills are paid if are going into hospital, to planning for more serious long-term issues such as being diagnosed with dementia. You can only set up a Power of Attorney while you still have the ability to weigh up information and make decisions for yourself, known as ‘mental capacity’ – so it’s worth putting a plan in place early on.
There are two types of power of attorney:
1. Ordinary power of attorney
This is only valid while you still have mental capacity to make your own decisions about your finances, and enables you to limit the power you give to your attorney so that they can only deal with certain assets, for example, your bank account but not usually your home. This is usually for a limited period only, for example, if you are abroad on business.
2. Lasting power of attorney
This can cover either financial or health and care decisions:
- A financial lasting power of attorney
This can be used while you still have mental capacity and gives the attorney the power to make decisions such as buying and selling property, paying bills, investing money or arranging repairs to property, for example.
- A health and care lasting power of attorney
This is used once you have lost mental capacity and gives the attorney the power to make decisions about where you should live, and possibly decisions about life sustaining treatment, for example.
Our experienced team will sensitively guide you through the process of creating a Power of Attorney to ensure that your welfare is looked after should the time come when you can no longer make decisions for yourself.