Are there different types of Powers of Attorney?
There are five main types of Powers of Attorney, these are General Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs, Lasing Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare and Business Powers of Attorney.
What is a General Power of Attorney?
A general Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a person to act on your behalf, usually in relation to a specific event or for a specific period of time. For example, to deal with one particular bank account whilst you are on holiday. A General Power of Attorney is very quick and easy to set up however, it is essential that professional advice is taken before entering into this.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney? (LPA)
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which gives a person, known as an Attorney, the legal authority to act on your behalf and make decisions on your behalf. You can appoint more than one person to act for you and you can also choose replacements to step in, should your original chosen attorneys be unable to act.
There are two types of LPA’s, one which relates to financial matters and the other which relates to health matters.
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your Attorney(s) to make decisions about your finances, whether it’s paying bills, collecting any income, selling your property etc.
The Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorney(s) to make decisions about your welfare, including where you should live, what type of care you should receive and also deals with consent to medical treatment. Your attorney can only act under a Health and Welfare LPA if you lack mental capacity.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney has been replaced by the Lasting Powers of Attorney and it is therefore no longer possible to make one. However, any EPA’s which were made before the 1st October 2007 are still valid.
An EPA acts in a similar way to the new Property & Financial Affairs LPA, by allowing your chosen Attorney(s) to act on your behalf in making decisions.
EPA’s did not have to be formally registered, unless the person is deemed to be losing or has lost mental capacity.
What is a Business Power of Attorney?
A Business Power of Attorney can be very useful to have in order to ensure that if you are ill, injured or out of the country and unable to deal with your business, someone else can step in and make decisions on your behalf.
Due to the law surrounding what happens when a Director of a company loses mental capacity, it is essential that you seek advice on the impacts and problems which can arise and ensure that you have things in place to protect you and your business.
What happens if I am unable to deal with my affairs and don’t have a Power of Attorney?
Without a Power of Attorney, nobody has the legal authority to assist you. Under Data Protection laws, nobody can access your bank account, deal with paying your bills or any other financial matters, which can result in red letters coming to your door. The only way that someone would be able to take over your financial affairs at that stage would be by applying to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
What is a Deputyship Order?
A Deputyship Order is an Order from the Court authorising someone to make decisions on behalf of a mentally incapable person.
Who can apply to be a Deputy?
A Deputy must be over 18 years old and is usually a close family member but can be a friend or even a professional, such as a Solicitor. Being a Deputy is a very important role and there are many legal formalities, duties and obligations which must be followed. It is essential to seek professional advice before taking on the role as Deputy.