- What is an attorney?
- What is a Power of attorney?
- What can my Attorney do?
- What if I don't make a Power of Attorney?
- How do I make a Power of Attorney?
An attorney is someone you nominate to act on your behalf.
A Power of Attorney is the document you sign to appoint an attorney. There are many different types of Power of Attorney. The Power may be limited to certain property or certain actions, or it may give your attorney general authority to act on your behalf.
When most people think about Powers of Attorney they mean “Enduring Power of Attorney” (EPA) or “Lasting Power of Attorney” (LPA). These are special types of Power of Attorney which allow you to choose an attorney to make decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself due to mental incapacity.
This will depend on the type of Power of Attorney and the authority you give to your attorney. For example, if you just want your attorney to deal with a specific matter while you are out of the country, you might complete an Ordinary Power of Attorney limited to that matter or to that period.
An attorney under an EPA or LPA usually has wide powers to act on your behalf but you can impose restrictions if you wish.
There are two types of LPA:
- A property and financial affairs LPA is for decisions about finances, such as selling your house or managing your bank account.
- A health and welfare LPA is for decisions about health and personal welfare, such as where to live, day-to-day care or having medical treatment.
If you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself and have not completed either an EPA or an LPA the Court of Protection may appoint a Deputy for you to make those decisions – usually a close relative. A Deputy is like an attorney but can only do what the Court permits.
I have an Enduring Power of Attorney. Is it still valid?
Since 1st October 2007 it has no longer been possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney, but provided the EPA was properly completed, and signed and dated by all parties before that date it should be valid.
You cannot make changes to an EPA. If you wish to change an EPA and, for example, appoint someone else, would have to cancel the EPA and complete a new LPA instead.
The best place to start is here at Taylor&Emmet LLP. In our Wills and Probate department we have specialists who can help you complete the right form of Power of Attorney to suit you and your circumstances. We also have plenty of experience acting as attorneys and advising and assisting attorneys, so we can give practical advice when choosing your attorneys and deciding what you want them to be able to do.
The process is usually quite straightforward and should only take a couple of weeks to complete; or less if you need a Power of Attorney urgently for any reason. At an initial meeting we will ask about what you want your attorney to be able to do and give advice on the best way to achieve what you want, so it's a good idea to think about these things before the meeting if you can.
You should consider: who you want to appoint
- If you appoint more than one person, whether they must act together at all times, or whether they may act independently of on another
- Whether there are any restrictions you wish to place on your attorneys or whether the Power of Attorney is to be limited to certain property or to a specified time.
After that meeting we will prepare a draft of the Power of Attorney and send it to you for approval. You can then come back to us with any queries or changes to be made to the draft Power of Attorney and we will prepare the final document for signature. If the Power of Attorney is a Lasting Power of Attorney it is essential that we meet again when you sign it, but in other cases we can send it to you with instructions to follow if you prefer.
We will then store the Power of Attorney for you and provide you with a copy to keep at home. This is to ensure that the Power of Attorney is kept safe and is not accidentally lost or damaged. We do not charge for this service.