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What is a lasting power of attorney?

The expert power of attorney solicitors at Graysons answer the most frequently asked questions about why you should set up a lasting power of attorney.

Last updated on February 28th, 2021 at 10:17 pm

What is a lasting power of attorney?

A lasting power of attorney – formerly known as an enduring power of attorney – is a legal document that appoints someone to manage your affairs – known as an agent or attorney – in the event you are no longer able to do so. This may include, for example, someone suffering from a debilitating health condition such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, or a stroke. Your appointed agent has an obligation to place your interests above their own. It is important that you pick a trusted individual who you are confident will have only your best interests in mind. 

If you are unable to manage your affairs, for example due to a stroke or a debilitating illness, and you don’t have a lasting power of attorney in place, your loved ones will have to apply to the courts to have someone appointed to manage your affairs, costing time and money. Putting a lasting power of attorney in place while you have mental capacity gives you and your loved one’s peace of mind that your affairs will be managed in your best interests should you lose mental capacity.

Many people opt to set up a lasting power of attorney when writing their last will and testament. 

Here, Graysons’ team of power of attorney solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield answer some of the most frequently asked questions about putting together a lasting power of attorney. 

What is the difference between a lasting power of attorney and an ordinary power of attorney? 

A lasting power of attorney gives another person the ability to make decisions about your property and financial affairs, as well as your health and welfare indefinitely. It is designed for people who have lost the mental capacity to manage their affairs.

An ordinary power of attorney gives another person the ability to act on your behalf for a limited amount of time. This type of power of attorney is not suitable for someone who has lost mental capacity. An ordinary power of attorney is designed to be a short-term. It may, for example, be used if you are recovering from an injury, or if you are going overseas on an extended trip and will need someone to manage your affairs at home.

Graysons’ team of power of attorney solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield are able to advise which power of attorney best suits your needs. 

What are the two types of lasting power of attorney?

There are two types of lasting power of attorney, one which covers property and financial affairs, and another which covers health and welfare. 

A lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs gives your appointed attorney the power to make decisions about your financial affairs as well as your property. This may include:

  • Paying bills such as electricity, gas, and water
  • Collecting a pension or benefits
  • Managing any bank accounts or financial investments. 
  • If necessary, selling your home. 
  • Managing your taxes
  • Making limited monetary gifts

Once this type of lasting power of attorney is registered it can be used immediately or held until you lose mental capacity. 

A lasting power of attorney for health and welfare enables your appointed attorney to make decisions about your medical care and treatment, including whether you should be moved into a care home. Once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian it can only be used once you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions regarding your health and welfare. A lasting power of attorney for health and welfare may cover:

  • Your day-to-day care, including dress, diet, and social activities 
  • Consenting to medical treatment or care
  • Handling any complaints about your medical care or treatment
  • Managing who you have contact with
  • Managing any care in the community, including assessments
  • Handling your personal correspondence
  • Deciding where you should live, and whether you should go in a care home or assisted living facility

It is important to remember that there are strict safeguards around lasting powers of attorney to avoid abuse. Many people opt to set up a lasting power of attorney covering both property and financial affairs as well as health and welfare when writing their last will and testament. An experienced power of attorney solicitor, such as Grayson’s team of solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield will be able to offer advice on setting up a lasting power of attorney. 

Why should I set up a lasting power of attorney? 

Setting up a lasting power of attorney can save your loved one’s time and money should you lose the mental capacity to manage your own affairs. If you don’t have a lasting power of attorney in place and you lose the mental capacity to manage your own affairs your loved ones will have to apply through the courts, which can be a long and expensive process. Additionally, setting up a lasting power of attorney gives you the ability to choose your own agent or attorneys, people that you trust and who you know have your best interests at heart. 

It is important to remember that loss of mental capacity is not always due to age. Even a young and healthy person may suddenly lose mental capacity due to a serious accident, for example, or through unexpected illness. Setting up a lasting power of attorney can only be done when you have mental capacity. Having a lasting power of attorney in place gives you peace of mind that should you lose mental capacity your financial affairs as well as your health and welfare will be looked after.  

Who should I appoint as a lasting power of attorney? 

You can appoint anyone to act as your agent in your lasting power of attorney. However, it is important that you select someone who you trust and believe will have your best interests at heart. Many people select a spouse, relative, or close friend. It is important that you discuss this with them, and they fully understand their duties and responsibilities.

You can appoint more than one person to act as your attorney or agent, and you can appoint different people to manage your financial lasting power of attorney and health care power of attorney. 

If choosing more than one person, your lasting power of attorney should highlight whether they will make decisions together or separately. Graysons’ team of power of attorney solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield will be able to offer advice on how best to select people to act as your attorneys.

How long does a lasting power of attorney last? 

A lasting power of attorney lasts indefinitely until you are deceased. It is then superseded by your last will and testament. However, it is important to note that your agent should only make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make specific decisions at that moment in time. For example, if you are in a coma, then your agent will use a lasting power of attorney to manage your affairs. However, once you wake from that coma and you re-gain mental capacity, they will no longer make decisions on your behalf.

How can Graysons’ team of power of attorney solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield help? 

It is important that a lasting power of attorney is set up so that your best interests are always maintained when you are no longer able to manage your own affairs. A power of attorney solicitor will be able to offer advice and expertise, ensuring your lasting powers of attorney accurately reflect your wishes. They will also ensure your lasting power of attorney documents are correctly drafted and prevent the validity of your lasting powers of attorney being challenged. Additionally, our power of attorney solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield will ensure your lasting power of attorney is correctly registered. It is important to remember that while drafting your own lasting power of attorney may seem feasible a mistake can be costly. If you are considering a lasting power of attorney then contact Graysons’ team of power of attorney solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield today. 

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You can read more about the merger here. Graysons will be pleased to help with your enquiry. Please visit our web pages or contact us directly on 0114 358 9009

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