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An elderly couple arranging Powers of Attorney

Enduring Powers of Attorney

An elderly woman talking to a young woman.

Ensuring your future wishes are respected

Are you concerned that you may lose your mental capacity in the future? If you want to prepare for that possibility now we can ensure that your chosen family or friend will be in charge of your affairs if this happens. Powers of Attorney are a legal way of appointing someone to manage your affairs if you become physically or mentally disabled from an unexpected illness or accident or because of the onset of old age.

Three people in a meeting room

What you need to know

You can appoint whoever you are comfortable with. If you leave matters until you no longer have mental capacity then it is necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy to manage your affairs. The person appointed may not be one you would have chosen and it could even be Social Services who are responsible for your affairs.

A piece of paper with 'General Power of Attorney' written on it

General Powers of Attorney (GPOA)

GPOAs can be used to appoint someone for a specified amount of time (up to a year), and can be for general use or for a specific task. GPOAs can only be used whilst the Donor has mental capacity (so for example they couldn't be used if the donor loses mental capacity after having granted the power, but can be used whilst they are out of the country).

GPOAs don't have to be registered anywhere and can be used as soon as they are created.

We are often asked to draw up a general power of attorney for someone who is leaving the country for a few months and wants a relative or friend to be able to sell their house for them whilst they are away, or when someone is having an operation and won't be able to write or talk for a short period of time.

A large red brick house

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

LPAs came into force on the 1st October 2007 and unlike ordinary powers are effective even if the donor loses their mental capacity

Within LPAs there are actually two different types available. The more common version is for 'Property and Financial Affairs' - i.e. looking after someones money and property. The other type is known as 'Health and Welfare'. These are less common and usually used to give someone power to decide on your health issues - such as types of medical treatment or even the ability to cut off life-sustaining treatment.
 

An LPA cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. You can register the LPA at any time, before or after someone loses their capacity, but it cannot be used before it is registered.


This registration process takes around 4 months.
 

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