Powers of Attorney
When you make a Lasting Power of Attorney, you are making positive choices about your future. We all like to think that the worst will never happen to us but what if it does?
Who will make decisions if you are ill or if you lose capacity?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint people you know as attorneys to make decisions for you should you become unable to do so yourself. There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney: one which covers financial decisions and the other for decisions about health and care.
There may come a point in the future when you need someone to carry out what we simply take for granted. For example, paying household bills, managing your bank accounts and claiming benefits and pensions. You may also require assistance with the type of medical care you have. You may need to move into residential care or need help with day-to-day matters such as your diet, dress or daily routine.
By making a Lasting Power of Attorney, you retain control of your affairs. Your attorney(s) will take control when you allow them to – either when you have lost the capacity to make any decisions by yourself (as with health and care decisions), or you can decide whether they can act immediately upon registering the powers, or when capacity has been lost (for financial decisions).
Everyone should consider who will look after their affairs in the event of incapacity. We can advise you of the best ways of dealing with this problem. We can also help in situations where a Lasting Power of Attorney has not been put in place.
What happens if I don’t set up a Power of Attorney?
If you don’t make a Lasting Power of Attorney and later become unable to make decisions yourself, nobody will legally be able to make decisions for you without an application to the Court of Protection. This can make things difficult for your family. They won’t be able to pay bills or make decisions about your care. We recommend that you set up Lasting Powers of Attorney to avoid this happening.
What if someone already lacks capacity? Can you still help?
If you care about someone who can’t make their own decisions any longer, we can still help. We will apply to the Court of Protection to ask them to appoint you as a deputy if you wish to take on that role. Being appointed as deputy gives similar powers to that of an attorney, but the role will be overseen by the Office of the Public Guardian who will review your decisions annually by way of reports that you would need to prepare. We will be able to assist you where required.