Power of Attorney

Many people worry that giving their son or daughter a Power of Attorney means they’re giving away their rights, that they won’t be able to make their own decisions any more. Maybe even that their son or daughter will be able to spend all of their money. It isn’t true. The Power of Attorney is there to protect you and make things simpler for you as you get older, or in case something goes wrong.

Basically, if you can’t make decisions anymore, would you like your family or someone else you trust, to do it for you?

It’s not just for people with dementia: what if you were in hospital with something like Covid, or in a coma following a car crash. Who would pay your bills & make decisions on your behalf?

A Lasting Power of Attorney lets you decide who can support you. There are 2 types and you can have either or both. You can name different attorneys on each if you want to. The attorneys don’t have to be family: you can use a solicitor instead if you’d like to:

  • Financial LPA can be used to pay your bills and manage your accounts. This can start whenever you want, for example you might want someone else to pay your bills if you find Internet Banking difficult
  • Health & Welfare LPA is used to make decisions about your care & support, but it’s only used if you cannot make your own decisions. Also bear in mind that the decisions the “Attorneys” make have to be in your best interests – they have to do what you would want whenever possible

Even when a Power of Attorney is in place, the Attorneys have to obey the Mental Capacity Act, which states:

  1. They must presume you have capacity unless proven otherwise
  2. They must do their best to support you to make your own decisions
  3. Just because they think your decision may be unwise and they don’t agree doesn’t mean you don’t have capacity
  4. They must act in your best interest
  5. If they make decisions on your behalf, they must choose the least restrictive option

A Lasting Power of Attorney has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it is valid. Don’t leave it un-registered – it’s useless.

The old Enduring Powers of Attorney are still valid, but you cannot get them anymore.

A financial advisor or solicitor can help you write your Will or create a Power of Attorney.

SOLLA (the Society of Later Life Advisers) can help you find an advisor who understands the issues you face in later life: 0333 2020454 societyoflaterlifeadvisers.co.uk

Prices vary, so shop around.