Power Of Attorney
Most people assume that if anything happens to them, a partner/spouse/child will be able to ‘manage your affairs’. IF there comes a time when you are not able to make your own decisions and there is no Power of Attorney in place they may not be able to.
What Is A Power Of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is your opportunity to appoint someone you trust to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf if you have an accident or an illness and are no longer able to make your own decisions without help.
Do I Need A Power Of Attorney?
If I make a Power of Attorney, do I still make my own decisions? While you have ‘Mental Capacity’ YES, you will continue to make your own decisions but an accident or illness can affect our ability to make decisions (at any age) and may lead to someone else having to help or even make some decisions on your behalf in the future.
Choosing an Attorney/Attorney’s to manage your decisions, should there be a time when you are not able to, can help give peace of mind. It can save money and make sure that those caring for you know your wishes if they are having to make decisions in your best interests.
Types Of Power Of Attorney
There are several types of Power of Attorney, some that can no longer be made and others that are temporary:
This is for financial affairs and is valid while you have mental capacity. It is suitable if you need cover for a temporary period for example a hospital stay or holiday, or if you find it hard to get out, or you want someone to act for you.
Someone with an EPA can help to make or make decisions about someone’s property and money providing it was made and signed before October 1, 2007. After that date donors had to make a Lasting Power of Attorney and should be registered if the donor is losing or has lost ‘Mental Capacity’ for financial decisions.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) are a way of giving someone the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity at some time in the future or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of LPA: Finance/Property and Health/Welfare. A LPA can only be made while you have the ‘Mental Capacity’ to assign an Attorney.
How Do I Apply For A Power Of Attorney?
You can make and register a Lasting Power of Attorney online and the GOV.UK website has the information you will need but if you would like help to make an application please get in touch.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) helps people in England and Wales to stay in control of decisions about their health and finance and make important decisions for others who cannot decide for themselves – 0300 456 0300
Please contact us if you need help to understand or apply for a Power of Attorney
What Is Mental Capacity?
The ability to understand and make a decision when it needs to be made is called ‘mental capacity’. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) is a law that protects and supports those who can’t make some or all decisions for themselves. It has a ‘Code of Practice’ for those who are assessing someone’s capacity and supporting them to make decisions.
If a person has lost the capacity to choose an ‘Attorney’ and a legal representative has not been appointed there may be a need to apply to the Court of Protection who will appoint a Deputy.
Making A Will
Leaving your loved ones to cope without your guidance or making your wishes clear can be devastating at a time when having your instructions could really help make losing you a little easier. For example have you discussed or left instructions not just for your property and assets but for; pets, organ donation, your funeral arrangements/wishes…
What If I Am Having Problems With An Attorney
- If you think you’re in immediate danger, contact your local police force or call 999 in an emergency.
- Raise your concerns with the Office of the Public Guardian, which has responsibility for monitoring attorneys.
- If you have concerns of financial misuse or abuse, call the Action on Elder Abusehelpline on 080 8808 8141.
- Who would manage your finances or health decisions if you are no longer able to?
- Do you have an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney?
- Have you made a will or set out your wishes for your care, death, property or family? Does someone know your wishes and where to find them when the time comes?
- Would you like help to make plans for the future, make sure your loved ones are provided for or inherit what you intended them to?
If you would like to speak to someone about supporting a loved one or making a Power of Attorney please get in touch.
You don’t have to use a Solicitor to make or amend a Power of Attorney and the Office of Public Guardian provide useful advice and notes but it is generally advised to get some help or at least get it checked to make sure it will have the effect that you want. If you would like some help to understand the application form or need a capacity assessment or certificate provider please get in touch.
Someone lacks capacity if their mind is impaired or disturbed in some way, which means they're unable to make a specific decision at that time. If you are not sure what this means or need an independent 'Mental Capacity' assessment please get in touch
That will depend on the decision that needs to be made. It may be a day to day task that a family member or carer can make a judgement on for example having a wash or eating breakfast or it could be that a professional needs to assess capacity for something more important for example a Court of Protection application or if a move into care is needed. If you need an independent mental capacity assessment we can arrange that for you, please get in touch
The Mental Capacity Act sets out a 2-stage test of capacity: 1) Does the person have an impairment of their mind or brain, whether as a result of an illness, or external factors such as alcohol or drug use? 2) Does the impairment mean the person is unable to make a specific decision when they need to? If you need an independent mental capacity assessment we can arrange that for you, please get in touch
That will depend on a number of things. What does 'Mum' want? Does she have the 'Mental Capacity' to make this decision for herself, are you going to need financial help, either now or in the future? If you are not sure, please get in touch
Yes, you can make your own Will and you do not have to have a Solicitor to make or witness a Will but it is generally advised to get some help or at least get it checked to make sure it it will have the effect you want. It is also worth thinking about some of these things - Are you sure you haven't already made a Will?Where is your Will kept and does anyone know where it is!? Does your Will need updating? If you aren't sure where to start please get in touch.