Private Client Update - Powers of Attorney and how they are relevant to you

  • Author: David Crosby
  • Posted on: 29th January 2014
  • Posted in: Blog

Have you have ever wondered about Powers of Attorney? What one is and whether you should have one?

Please find below a summery about the difference between General and Lasting Powers of Attorney in relation to your property and financial affairs. 

General Powers of Attorney

You can choose to appoint an Attorney generally to act on your behalf.  In this situation the person will have authority to manage all and any of your affairs in your absence.  Alternatively, you can choose to grant your Attorney authority to undertake specific tasks on your behalf, for example to deal with the sale of your property.

A general Power of Attorney becomes void in the event that you lose your mental capacity.  Accordingly, a General Power of Attorney may not be suitable for managing the affairs of elderly relatives.  For such individuals a Lasting Power of Attorney is often preferable as it continues to be valid once a person loses their full mental abilities provided that it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A property and affairs Lasting Power of Attorney gives your Attorney authority to deal with your property and finances.

If you appoint more than one attorney, you can appoint them to always act together (jointly) or together and independently (jointly and severally) so that either attorney can act alone.  You may even appoint them to act jointly for some decisions and jointly and severally for others.

You may also choose to appoint a successor to your attorney, in case they die or otherwise cannot act for you.

The Attorney will only be able to act when the Lasting Power of Attorney has been signed by you and your Attorney and then certified by a third party (known as a Certificate Provider) that you understand the nature and scope of the Lasting Power of Attorney and have not been unduly pressured into making the power.  The Certificate Provider will also need to confirm that there has not been any fraud or another reason why you cannot make the power.

It must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.  The Financial Lasting Power of Attorney can be used when you still have capacity to act, as well as if you lack the mental capacity to make a financial decision.

If you do not make a Lasting Power of Attorney and in the future lack capacity to make a financial decision, then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for an appropriate order, such as appointing another person to make decisions on your behalf. This is both costly and time consuming.

At Crosby & Woods our Private Client Department is very experienced in all matters relating to Powers of Attorney.  Please contact our Partner and Head of Department Greg Woods on 01273 734600 for a no obligation discussion about Powers of Attorney and the options available to you. 

Disclaimer

Whilst we have made every effort to make sure this information is clear and up-to-date, it is not intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law on the issues covered. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss arising from the use of information contained in this fact sheet.