Power of attorney – don’t leave it too late and lose control!

Published by Gemma Spencer on 17 April 2019

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A power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to act in a legal capacity on your behalf. There are currently four types of power of attorney and we can advise you on which one will best meet your needs.

A power of attorney authorises someone to manage your affairs whilst it is difficult for you to do so yourself. It can be used if you have a physical disability or are away travelling for a long period or perhaps if one day you become mentally incapable. A power of attorney can be a great help allowing you to retain control whilst, at the same time, giving legal power to others to act on your behalf. Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) are the most popular and come in two forms: a Property and Finance LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA. You can take out either or both, but undoubtedly to do both is best.

A Property and Finance LPA covers buying or selling investments such as houses or shares, operating a bank account, dealing with your tax affairs and claiming benefits – in fact anything to do with managing your finances. The Health and Welfare LPA deals with matters such as where you should live, day-to-day care, whether to give or refuse consent to medical treatment and end of life decisions.

An LPA cannot be used unless it is registered so we recommend you do this straight away to avoid delay in the future which could be both frustrating and costly. Powers of attorney are useful and can give you the comfort that you will effectively have some say in your affairs should the worst happen, because the person you appoint knows you and has a good idea of what decisions you would make.

Powers of attorney can give extensive powers to someone else on your behalf so choose your attorneys wisely. You need to know that you can trust them to act in your best interests and be capable of making decisions appropriate to you. You can appoint more than one person to act for you and you can limit the powers you give, if that makes you feel more comfortable. Also, we recommend our clients give their attorneys a written note of any particular points the attorneys must bear in mind.

Unfortunately, if you leave it too late, control will be taken away from you by the Court of Protection so it’s best to arrange your power of attorney sooner rather than later. We can assist you with the whole process. For more information, please call the Kreston Reeves Private Client legal team on either 01403 253282 or 01634 899800.

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