Power of Attorney is a legal document, which authorises one or more people to handle your finances. You can set up a Power of Attorney for a limited time, or to deal with a specific situation.
There are three different types of power of attorney. These are:
Ordinary power of attorney
If you want someone to look after your financial affairs for a long period of time, you can give them an ordinary power of attorney. You might want to give someone an ordinary power of attorney if:
- you have a physical illness
- you have an accident which leads to physical injury
- you are abroad for a long period of time.
Lasting power of attorney
If you want someone to look after your affairs for a long period of time, you can give them a lasting power of attorney (LPA). An LPA is different from an ordinary power of attorney because:
- you can make an LPA which looks after your health and care decisions, as well as one to look after your property and financial affairs
- an LPA must be registered before it can be used
- an LPA is intended for use by people who are at risk of losing their mental capacity – see below.
- You should make an LPA if you have been diagnosed with, or think you might develop, an illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself at some time in the future.The kinds of illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself include:
- mental health problems
- brain injury
- alcohol or drug misuse
- the side-effects of medical treatment
- any other illness or disability.
You must make an LPA whilst you are still capable of making decisions for yourself. This is called having mental capacity
- There are two types of LPA:
- A property and financial affairs LPA
- A health and welfare LPA.
Enduring power of attorney
It is no longer possible to make a new EPA. However, if an EPA was made before 1 October 2007, it can still be registered and, if it is already registered, it will still be valid.
If you want to manage the affairs of someone who you think might lose their mental capacity and you don’t already have an EPA, a lasting power of attorney should be used.
How to grant a Power of Attorney
If you want to grant an ordinary power of attorney, you should contact a solicitor or an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau.