Powers of Attorney
Choosing to put in place documentation (a power of attorney) so that you can delegate your decision making to someone else is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. It relies on absolute trust in your chosen attorney. From the attorney’s point of view it is a huge responsibility and not one to be undertaken lightly.
Most powers of attorney created now are called Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) – “lasting” because they carry on working if the person creating them loses the capacity to make his or her own decisions. For this reason they are fantastically useful documents and, possibly apart from making a Will, are the most important thing you can put in place to assist your loved ones should the unthinkable happen and you lose the capacity to make decisions yourself. Don’t forget that such incapacity can strike at any age and often without warning.
There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Property and Financial Affairs – dealing with your money and house etc.
- Health and Welfare – dealing with your care and medical treatment etc.
Some people choose to make LPAs without legal advice which for people undaunted by long forms and paperwork generally is fine. If however you would like help with making an LPA or would like a loved one to receive advice regarding LPAs we are here to assist with the whole process. To give you peace of mind, we will always:
- Treat you as our client even if someone else suggested you should have an LPA
- Advise you on why it is a good idea to have an LPA but also tell you about the possible dangers and what can be done to minimise these
- Ensure that you are comfortable for us to proceed before doing so
- Discuss with you the choice of attorneys – some people have different attorneys for each type of LPA as the skills required for each can vary
- Complete all of the documentation for you
- Explain the documentation in plain English to ensure that it is fully understood by everyone
- Act as your certificate provider (this means we certify that you fully understand the document, you are not being put under pressure to sign and that we do not think there is a reason why you shouldn’t sign)
- Fully advise your attorneys on their duties and responsibilities including whether they can make gifts on your behalf
- Arrange for the documentation to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian – it cannot be used until the registration has been completed.