Have You Got The Power?

AMD Solicitors advises on why you should consider Lasting Powers of Attorney

No one likes having decisions made for them. It takes away the independence that we strive for, but many people do not consider what would happen if they could not make decisions about their affairs for themselves.

Prior to October 2007 legal effect was given to your wishes to appoint someone to act on your behalf by completing an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), and providing that both you (called the donor) and your chosen trusted people (called attorneys) signed this document it will still be a valid means of you authorising your chosen attorneys to act on your behalf in relation to your affairs.

In October 2007, in conjunction with the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Office of the Public Guardian amended this EPA process to a more protective one. One reason for this was that the Mental Capacity Act changed the emphasis of the power from allowing the attorneys to make all of the decisions over the donor’s affairs, to insisting that the attorneys assist the donor in making decisions for themselves. The replacement Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) process is however much longer and more complicated, and includes the completion of a 28 page form.

The LPA must be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian (formerly known as the Court of Protection) to be registered before it can be used. The completed form can either be kept safe and then registered at a later date, or registered straight away and the decision is dependent on how you feel about managing your affairs at that time.

There have been criticisms of the new lengthy LPA process and it is expected that the Office of the Public Guardian will introduce new regulations and revise the application form in the autumn

Without an LPA, if you lose the ability to deal with your affairs any person can apply to deal with your affairs on your behalf (this time called your deputy). By then of course, having lost capacity, you have forgone your right to make your own choice of who you thought was the best or most trusted person to deal with them for you.

In conclusion, if your independence and decision making ability is important to you then you need to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney, formally appointing those people that you feel are suitable to manage your affairs if you are not able to do so…go on, get the power!

Claire is a member of the Probate, Wills and Trust Team at AMD Solicitors. AMD offer an entirely free review of your current situation. Contact Claire or a member of the team at AMD Solicitors by e-mail probate@amdsolicitors.com or by telephone on 0117 9898514.

AMD have offices at Clifton, Henleaze and Shirehampton.

Copyright AMD Solicitors

This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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