A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you (the ‘donor’) to appoint people that you trust (‘attorneys’) to make important decisions on your behalf. You can appoint just one person as your attorney, or you can appoint several different people.
When you reach a stage where you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself, your appointed attorneys can manage your finances and make other important decisions without your approval. This takes away the burden and pressure of paying bills, checking your bank statements and moving money between different accounts. The Lasting Power of Attorney document lets your bank, providers and other relevant agencies know that somebody else is managing your affairs for you.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be drawn up at any time but must be registered at the Office of Public Guardianship (OPG) before it becomes valid. Once registered, it can be used at any time, whether you still have the mental capacity to act for yourself or not.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is useful when you want somebody else to manage your property and affairs or your personal welfare.
Having somebody else handle your property and affairs takes away the burden of paying bills, collecting rental income or selling your home (if you own a property) and receiving housing benefits (if you rent a property from the council). These responsibilities can be granted at any time.
Allowing your attorney to manage your personal welfare means they can make decisions about your healthcare, medical treatment and end of life care. This can only be arranged once it has been proven that you are mentally incapable of making decisions about your own welfare.
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Solicitors for the Elderly is an independent organisation of legal professionals who specialise in providing legal advice to elderly and vulnerable clients.
The Notaries Society represents the 900 or so Notaries Public currently practising in England and Wales.