Powers of Attorney

If you suffer an accident or an illness which renders you unable to manage your own affairs, your close friends and relatives may find it difficult to help you if you haven’t made prior arrangements for them to do so.

By making a power of attorney you could ensure that help is in place if in the future you should need it.

A Power of Attorney is a document in which you can appoint someone to act on your behalf in relation to your finances and property and possibly even your health and welfare.

There are different types of powers of attorney and each type will determine the scope or extent of the attorney’s authority. (See the links below for the different types of powers of attorney documents)

Read More

The different types of Powers of attorney are:

As the maker of a power of attorney you will be known as a Donor. The person you choose to act on your behalf is known as the Attorney.

You can choose more than one attorney and you can state whether they should act together only or together and separately.

An attorney can be given a general authority to act or you can restrict their authority to specific assets or tasks.

To make a power of attorney you as the Donor must understand the nature and effect of the document. Where you haven’t the requisite mental capacity to understand the document then the court can appoint someone to act on your behalf. The court appointed person is known as the Deputy and the application for a Deputy appointment is made to the Court of Protection

Once a power of attorney is made an attorney can act immediately, if you desire it. All, except ordinary powers of attorney, will remain valid if you later lose mental capacity.

Many powers of attorney are made for future use and are not necessarily needed for immediate use; they can be treated as a type of insurance policy to cover any possible future need.

After making a power of attorney if you later change your mind and wish to cancel (revoke) it then you can do so at anytime whilst you retain mental capacity. Likewise an attorney can change his or her mind and refuse to act in the capacity as your attorney by disclaiming.

Your attorney must always act in your best interests; they should do only as you would have done had you been acting in person. A simple example would be that they can continue to make gifts on your behalf if that was in keeping with your usual behaviour but they cannot increase the value of the gift if they think it too small.




Lasting Power of Attorney Health & Welfare

In a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney you can authorise another person to make decisions on your behalf which relate to your health and welfare. These matters include issues such as your medical treatment and care, even decisions involving where you should live in the event your existing living arrangements need to change.

An attorney’s authority can extend to the giving or refusing of life sustaining treatment providing you expressly state this within the power of attorney document.

The authority of the attorney is only ever valid from the point at which you, the donor, lose mental capacity.

The lasting power of attorney document must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.

You can revoke (cancel) a power of attorney at anytime whilst you retain the mental capacity to do so. Likewise, an attorney can decide not to continue in their capacity as your attorney by disclaiming the power.

Guidance and restrictions for the attorneys can be set out within the document.



Lasting Power of Attorney Property & Affairs

In a Property & Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney you can authorise another person, the attorney, to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your property and finances. These decisions can include the deposit and withdrawal of monies from your accounts, the general everyday running of your household and personal finances e.g paying bills, and even to the selling of your house.

The authorisation of the attorney lasts even if you, the donor, later lose mental capacity.

You can revoke (cancel) the Lasting Power of Attorney at anytime whilst you retain mental capacity which will remove the attorneys authority completely and similarly your attorneys can decide not to act as your attorneys in the future by disclaiming.

Guidance and restrictions for the attorneys can be set out within the document.

The Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.



Enduring Power of Attorney

Since October 2007 it has no longer been possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney. Enduring Powers of Attorney were replaced by the new system of Lasting Powers of Attorney.

If you made an Enduring Power of Attorney before October 2007 then this will remain valid.

An Enduring Power of Attorney authorises your Attorney to make decisions in relation to your finances and property only.

If you wish you can restrict your attorney’s authority within the Enduring Power of Attorney document to specific assets and tasks or you can choose to give them a general authority to act in relation to all your property and finances.

You can revoke (cancel) an Enduring Power of Attorney at any time whilst you have mental capacity. Your attorney can decide not to continue as your attorney by disclaiming.

If after you have made the Enduring Power of Attorney you lose the mental capacity then your Attorney must register the Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian immediately.



Ordinary Power of Attorneys

An Ordinary Power of Attorney confers authority on the attorney for a 12 month period only.

It does not remain valid if you the Donor lose mental capacity.

The Ordinary Power can be made quickly as it does not need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before use, unlike Lasting Powers of Attorney.

The Ordinary Power of Attorney only confers authority in relation to your property and finances.

Back To Top