What is a Power Of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document in the UK that allows an individual to appoint someone they trust to make decisions on their behalf if they become unable to do so. Here is a detailed explanation of what a POA is, what types are available in the United Kingdom and how they work:
Exactly what is a Power of Attorney though?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone (called the “donor”) to appoint another person (called the “attorney”) to act on their behalf in a range of financial, legal, or health matters. This can be done if the donor is unable to make decisions themselves in situations such as old age, illness, or an accident.
The Types of Power of Attorney available in the UK: There are different types of Power of Attorney in the United Kingdom, and the choice depends on what type of decision making you want your attorney to make on your behalf. These are:
- General Power of Attorney: allows the attorney to manage the donor’s affairs for a limited time, usually for a specific purpose.
- Lasting Power of Attorney: this can be used for either Property and Financial Affairs or Health and Welfare decisions. It remains in effect even after the donor has lost mental capacity.
- Enduring Power of Attorney: this was the old version of a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs. It was only available to create before October 2007.
How does a Power of Attorney work?
A Power of Attorney document must be signed by the donor while they still have the mental capacity to understand the implications of the document. Once it is signed, the document will be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in England and Wales, or the equivalent bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
When the donor becomes unable to make decisions, the attorney can then use the document to act on their behalf, but only within the limits that are set out in the document. The attorney will be able to make decisions about things like the donor’s finances, their medical treatment, and where they live, depending on the type of Power of Attorney that was created.
- Who can act as an attorney? Anyone over the age of 18 can act as an attorney, as long as they have not been declared bankrupt or have a criminal record that would make them unsuitable. The attorney must also be someone that the donor trusts to act in their best interests.
- When does a Power of Attorney end? The Power of Attorney ends when the donor dies or revokes the document. It may also end if the attorney becomes unable to act, such as if they pass away, lose mental capacity themselves or become bankrupt.
- What if there is no Power of Attorney in place? If there is no Power of Attorney in place and the donor becomes unable to make decisions, their family or friends will not have the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf. In such cases, an application must be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to act on their behalf.
- Can there be more than one person acting as an attorney? Yes, it is possible to appoint more than one person to act as an attorney in a POA in the UK. When you appoint multiple attorneys, you can choose to allow them to act either jointly, where all attorneys must act together and agree on decisions, or jointly and severally, where each attorney can act independently of the others.
Choosing to appoint multiple attorneys can provide added security and peace of mind, as it ensures that there are multiple individuals responsible for making decisions on your behalf. It can also provide a safeguard against the risk of any one attorney becoming incapacitated or unavailable to act.
If you decide to appoint multiple attorneys, it is important to consider the potential for disagreements or conflicts between them. You can include instructions or guidance in the power of attorney document to help minimise the risk of disputes, and you should ensure that all attorneys are fully aware of their responsibilities and duties.
To summarise, a Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint someone they trust to make decisions on their behalf if they become unable to do so.
There are different types of Power of Attorney in the UK, and the choice depends on what type of decision-making you want your attorney to make for you. That attorney must act in the best interests of the donor, and the document ends when the donor dies or if the document is revoked.
Using Seatons to deal with a Power of Attorney has several benefits compared to doing it yourself. They can be complicated and stressful and we can ensure everything is done correctly. See just some of the reasons why you should use us:
- Legal Expertise: We have the necessary legal expertise and knowledge to ensure that your Power of Attorney is executed correctly and meets all the legal requirements. We can advise you on the best type of power of attorney for your situation and help you avoid any potential legal issues.
- Ease of Process: Dealing with a Power of Attorney can be a complex process, involving a lot of paperwork and legal procedures. We can take care of all the details, making the process much easier and less stressful for you.
- Avoiding Mistakes: Making mistakes when preparing a Power of Attorney can have serious consequences. We can help ensure that everything is done correctly and that there are no errors that could lead to problems in the future.
- Protecting Your Interests: Seatons can help ensure that your Power of Attorney protects your interests and that the person you appoint as your attorney has the necessary powers to act on your behalf.
Contact us today for expert help and advice about making a Power of Attorney on 01536 276300 or 01536 311690. Alternatively, contact us online here.