Powers of Attorney
For many clients, preparing powers of attorney are part of their usual lifetime planning. Broadly speaking, there are three types of powers of attorney:-
- Lasting powers of attorney;
- Enduring powers of attorney;
- General powers of attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)
We recommend that all clients, regardless of age, prepare LPAs. There are two types of LPA: one relating to property and financial affairs and a second relating to health and welfare decisions. Whilst these documents are often associated with old age, they can also provide key protection for you and your family should you be involved in an accident. We all hope they will never be required, but if the worst happens your family will have everything they need to care for you.
An LPA allows you to appoint individuals who you trust, who can assist with your property and financial affairs and health and welfare decisions if you are ever in the position of not being able to give your own instructions. Preparing them ahead of time will allow you to decide who is appointed to act on your behalf. If you do not have LPAs and then you lose mental capacity, your family and loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order, whereby the Court chooses who to appoint on your behalf. This is a more costly process and removes the ability for you to choose who you want to act on your behalf. For more information on the Court of Protection click here.
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs)
It has not been possible to create new EPAs since 2007 and even then, they could only be created in relation to property and financial affairs. However, many of our clients have existing EPAs and these are still perfectly valid. It might, however, be prudent to review your existing EPAs to ensure that they entirely meet your current requirements and consider whether if would be beneficial to create a new LPA in addition to deal with your health and welfare decisions.
Although existing EPAs can still be used, if you were to lose mental capacity in future the EPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. If you have an existing EPA, we can assist your attorneys with the registration of this document when the time comes.
General Power of Attorney
If you need to temporarily delegate your property and financial affairs to an attorney, we can assist with the preparation of a general power of attorney. These are only suitable as temporary documents given that they cease to have any power if the donor loses mental capacity, and only last for twelve months. However, they have their uses, for instance, if you are going to be travelling abroad and need to appoint an attorney to assist you in your absence. We would be happy to assist in the preparation of a general power of attorney if this is required.
Services for Attorneys
If you are appointed as an attorney under an EPA or LPA, we can assist with advice on the day to day administration of the attorneyship, together with advice on the maintenance of your records and compliance procedures.
We can also provide guidance and assistance for applications to the Court of Protection for permission to make gifts for inheritance tax planning or succession purposes.