Information on the Power of Attorney

Information on the Power of Attorney

You may be concerned that there will be a time in the future when you become unable to manage your own affairs. One way to ensure your affairs are taken care of is to grant a power of attorney to someone.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you (The Donor) give another person or people (The Attorney) the power to act on your behalf with regard to your property and financial affairs. There are two common types of Power of Attorney in England and Wales:

  • General Power of Attorney (sometimes known as ordinary)
  • Lasting Power of Attorney.

A General Power of Attorney (GPA) usually relates to specific events or periods and is often used if someone is in hospital for a short period of time. If you become mentally incapable a general power is automatically revoked.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) remain valid in the event that you become mentally incapable of handling your own affairs. This would allow you to choose someone to make decisions on your behalf about personal welfare as well as financial decisions. You can get more information about LPA's from the Office of the Public Guardian.

Only the donor can make a decision to create a power of attorney. You can create one yourself but it is always a good idea to get information and help from a legal professional. A solicitor can draft an LPA for you and will only take instructions from you. Anyone can be appointed an attorney unless they are bankrupt and you may have more than one attorney. Remember that this person will be acting on your behalf and managing your financial affairs so you must trust them implicitly.

As soon as the person who has been appointed believes that the Donor is, or is becoming, mentally incapable they must apply to register the LPA with the Public Guardianship Office. The basic fee is £120 but you can find extensive advice relating to registering an LPA and more fee information from the Public Guardianship Office.