What is Power of Attorney?
Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to choose someone else to deal with third parties on your behalf, such as banks or the local council. Some types of POA allow you to choose someone to make decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do this yourself in the future.
A POA can be put in place at any time, providing you are still capable of making decisions and have 'mental capacity' at the time the document is signed.
You can give POA to more than one person and it is important that you choose somebody you can trust to act in your best interests.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
There are two types of LPA:
- Property and financial affairs LPA - Covers managing day-to-day finances, debts, benefits or buying or selling property. This must be put in place while you have mental capacity and it can be used before and after you have lost capacity.
- Health and wellbeing LPA - Covers NHS treatment, care and housing. This needs to be put in place while you have mental capacity and it can be used before and after you have lost capacity.
It is common to have either one or both types of LPA in place. When you set things up, you can stipulate the 'powers' you want to give. For example, you might want your attorney to deal with your bills, but not have the power to sell your property, or you may only want your attorney to deal with your affairs once you start to lose capacity. Once the LPA is drawn up and signed it will need to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before it is effective.
Visit the Government website for more information about lasting power of attorney.