A Power of Attorney is a legal document which confers authority upon a nominated individual of your choice to make decisions on your behalf.
A Power of Attorney can be made to deal with a specific wish, for example, to give authority to someone to sign paperwork on your behalf if you are on holiday or away on business, or it can be drafted to be more general in form to grant a general authority to make decisions in respect of your property and financial affairs, or health and welfare decisions, which continues even if you lose mental capacity in the future due to accident or illness. These are called Lasting Powers of Attorney.
We can assist with the drafting and preparation of a Lasting Power of Attorney covering decisions to be taken either in relation to property and finances, or health and welfare. Your instructions to us are crucial and we can offer you guidance on the types of decisions that your attorney is able to make on your behalf, as well as explaining any restrictions or limitations on the authority you are giving.
Lasting Powers of Attorney must be registered with the Court of Protection, a Court designated to deal with matters predominantly (but not exclusively) concerning elderly and vulnerable individuals. We recommend that you register your Lasting Power of Attorney at the same time as drafting the paperwork and we are able to carry out this registration for you.
Enduring Powers of Attorney, which could be created prior to 2007 but which were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney following a change in the law, remain valid although no new ones can be drafted, nor changes made. If you made an Enduring Power of Attorney, or you are appointed as an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney and the person appointing you has or is losing mental capacity, you have a duty to apply to register the document with the Court of Protection.
If you do not have an Enduring or a Lasting Power of Attorney, and you lose the mental capacity to make one, your family/friends will have to make an application to the Court of Protection for authority to take any decisions on your behalf. Whilst the Court is able to fast track urgent applications, most cases prove to be time consuming and costly, and a wealth of information is required before the Court make any order. For further information on the Court of Protection, please refer the “Court of Protection” page of our website.
With an ageing population, it is becoming more important than ever to plan for the future and seek advice on the options available to you in managing your affairs during your lifetime. We can assist you in making these decisions and in guiding you through the process, advising you on the options available.
Court of Protection
The Court of Protection is a specialist Court of England and Wales witch deals specifically with matters concerning the young, the elderly, vulnerable individuals and those less able to take decisions independently.The Court of Protection makes decisions for people who are unable to do so for themselves. Decisions can relate to property, finances, health and personal welfare. The Court is also able to appoint someone, a deputy, to act on behalf of a person who is unable to make their own decisions. The Court can:
- decide whether a person has the capacity and is able to make a particular decision for themselves
- make a decision on matters of financial or welfare on behalf of people who are unable to do so
- has the power to appoint a deputy to act for someone who is unable to make their own decisions
- can remove deputies or attorneys who fail to carry out their duties
- can decide whether a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney is valid
- can hear cases concerning objections to the registration a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney
The Court will always consider whether a person is able to reach a decision independently or with assistance and guidance before a decision is taken on their behalf. The overriding consideration in all decisions to be taken is what is in the best interest of the individual concerned.
We can provide ongoing advice and guidance in issues of mental capacity and applications to the Court of Protection; including applications on the appointment of a deputy, making a Will on behalf of someone, objecting to the registration of a Power of Attorney and asking the Court to make decisions of behalf of someone.
If you are concerned about decisions regarding your property and financial affairs, or you have wishes in relation to health and personal welfare, we recommend taht you consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney appointing a person on your behalf to carry out your wishes. Details can be found on our “Powers of Attorney” section of the website.
For more information, please contact us by telephone or email, details of which can be found on our “Contact Us” page.