Who would make decisions about your finances and welfare if you couldn’t?
If you haven’t set up a lasting power of attorney you should.
Thinking and talking about what would happen if our faculties deserted us is uncomfortable. Yet it’s important to consider how much worse the situation would be if you had a stroke, serious accident or dementia (e.g. Alzheimer’s) without sorting it first. Anyone aged 18 or over should arrange a lasting power of attorney.
A lot of people use a solicitor to help them set up a power of attorney, this can be very costly, you can do it yourself, however you will require a certificate provider.
Our professional team will advise you on which LPA is most appropriate for you, and guide you carefully through the whole process from start to finish. We will help you complete the forms, witness signatures and be the professional certificate provider.
Home visits are available locally at no extra cost, appointments to suit you including evening and weekends.
If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you may have assumed that your spouse would automatically be able to deal with your bank account and pensions, and make decisions about your healthcare, if you lose the ability to do so. This is not the case. Without an LPA, they won’t have the authority.
Mental capacity is the ability to make a specific decision at the time it needs to be made. To have mental capacity you must understand the decision you need to make, why you need to make it, and the likely outcome of your decision. Some people will be able to make decisions about some things but not others.
Mental capacity can change over time and someone may not be able to make a decision at one time, and then be able to make the same decision at another time. Someone with mental capacity is able to communicate decisions through speech, signs, gestures or in other ways. Taking time to understand or communicate may be mistaken for a lack of mental capacity, but having dementia, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean someone can’t make any decisions themselves.
If someone is having difficulty communicating what sort of decision they want to make, an attempt should always be made to overcome that difficulty and help the person decide for themselves. Before someone can make a decision for you, they must assess whether you can make the decision yourself. The person making a decision for you must make sure they are acting in your best interests.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney (or POA) is a legal document that designates one or more persons who can make critical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make these decisions yourself. This situation can arise if you are out of country on holidays or travelling for business, or if you ever become debilitated due to an injury or illness.
An Ordinary Power of Attorney is only valid while you are mentally sound and able to make decisions. This type of POA is typically used when you want to delegate certain decisions to your attorney because you will be unavailable due to travel or other circumstances which require your full attention.
Alternatively, a Lasting Power of Attorney (or LPA) remains valid if you are ever incapacitated and unable to manage your own affairs. This can occur if you are injured in an accident, if you develop a debilitating illness, or if you suffer a sudden severe health crisis such as an aneurism or stroke.
In England and Wales, there are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- LPA for Property and Financial Affairs
- LPA for Health and Welfare
An LPA for Property and Financial Affairs grants your attorney authority to make decisions concerning your assets and personal property.
An LPA for Health and Welfare lets your attorney make decisions about items like your daily living routine, moving into an extended care facility, or requesting aid from social services. You can also give your attorney the power to provide or withhold consent for life-sustaining medical treatment.
Who can be your attorney?
Your attorney can be anyone of sound mind 18 years or older. This includes:
- Your spouse or civil partner
- A parent, sibling, or other family member
- A trusted friend or colleague
- A professional, like a solicitor
You can chose different attorneys for health & welfare and finance & property.
When should I make a Power of Attorney?
You should consider creating a POA in these situations:
- You are going to holiday in another country for a long stretch of time.
- You want to guarantee someone you implicitly trust has control over your affairs.
- You have a health condition which could eventually impair your mental soundness (ie dementia).
- Your employment makes you travel out of country for extended periods.
- You are a member of the military and are being stationed overseas.
- You want your spouse or a family member to control what medical treatments you agree/disagree to if you are unable to express your wishes.
Benefits of making an LPA
- It can be reassuring to know that, if you are unable to make a decision for yourself in the future, the person you choose will make these decisions for you.
- Making an LPA ensures that the person you want to make decisions for you will be able to do so. This prevents a stranger, or someone you may not trust, from having this power.
- Making an LPA now will make things easier for your family and friends in future. It will be more expensive, difficult and time-consuming for them to get the authority to act on your behalf when you are not able to give it.
Making an LPA can start discussions with your family or others about what you want to happen in future.
If you set up an enduring power of attorney (EPA) before 1 October 2007, naming someone as your attorney, it should still be valid.
An EPA only covers decisions about your property and financial decisions. You might want to consider setting up an LPA for health and care decisions, which can work alongside the existing EPA.
There’s a compulsory cost of £82 to register a Power of Attorney (in England and Wales – it’s £77 in Scotland, £127 in Northern Ireland). If you earn less than £12,000/year though, you can provide evidence to have a reduced fee of £41. Those on certain benefits are exempt from fees.
People often use a solicitor to help them set up a power of attorney, this can be very costly and isn’t necessary. You can do it yourself, however you will require a certificate provider.
Verantium can help you complete the forms, witness signatures and be the professional certificate provider.
As a professional social work team you can be assured of a quality service at a reasonable price.
Our price starts at £250 per application (per person) and includes the registration fee payable to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Please call 0161 262 0580 to arrange a visit.