Why Consider Power of Attorney?
What is a Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney enables your ageing parent to give power to another person to look after their affairs when they no longer have capacity to do so themselves, for example, if they have a stroke, develop dementia or any other illness which impairs their ability to make decisions
There are two Forms of Lasting Powers of Attorney
1. Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney
The Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney enables people to deal with someone’s finances, for example invest money on their behalf, pay bills and even sell their property
2. Health and Welfare Power of Attorney
The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney enables people to make decisions on someone’s behalf about where they live, who looks after them and their on-going medical care. They can also give their Attorney power to make decisions about life sustaining treatment
Why it is important to establish Power of Attorney before your older relative loses capacity?
Lasting Powers of Attorney can only be made whilst your ageing parent fully understands the nature of the power they are giving to another person
When making the Power of Attorney, a person will need to be nominated as their “Certificate Provider”, whose role is to establish that your parent or relative understands what they are signing and that no pressure is being put on them to sign and that the Attorneys are fit and able to act in that capacity
What happens if you need a Power of Attorney, but you haven’t got one?
If your older relative has already lost capacity and had no Power of Attorney in place, then an application will have to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed. This deputy can either be a relative or a professional
Whereas the Attorney your ageing parent has chosen can look after all their affairs without having to report to the Office of the Public Guardian, a Deputy has to report annually and prepare an account of all monies received and spent
What is the Office of the Public Guardian’s role?
They deal with the registration of all Lasting Powers of Attorney and in the event of them not operating properly, applications can be made to them to determine the best way forward in dealing with matters on your behalf
Registration and costs
It costs nothing to draw up a lasting power of attorney, unless you want a solicitor’s help – but in England, Wales and Scotland you have to register it before you can use it.
In Northern Ireland you can use it without registering it while you still have mental capacity, but you have to register it as soon as your mental capacity starts to decline.
It’s best to register as soon as possible. This is because during the registration process the document will be checked for errors.
If you catch them while you can still manage your affairs you can correct them – if not, your power of attorney might be invalid.
- England and Wales: £110 for each lasting power of attorney.
- Scotland: £70 for each power if you register them separately, and £70 if you register both at the same time.
- Northern Ireland: £115 for each enduring power of attorney.
The fee may change so it’s a good idea to check when you register.
Michael Swaden co-founded Manuel Swaden in 1989 firstname.lastname@example.org