Power of attorney can take many different forms, but in general terms, it gives someone the power to act on the behalf of another person in legal or financial matters. Power of attorney agreements can set out strict limitations on how much control you might wish to give over to someone who acts on your behalf. For example, you might give someone power of attorney for a number of months whilst you convalesced after an operation.  Alternatively, you might limit power of attorney to administrating only one of your bank accounts. Power of Attorney does not deprive you of your ability to make decisions and take action for yourself.

Ordinary Power of Attorney

This is the most appropriate type for you to choose if you’re experiencing temporary health problems or if you expect to be living abroad for some time.  This allows your appointed person to look after your financial and legal affairs for an extended period of time. However, if you’ve been diagnosed with any condition which may lead to you losing your mental capacity and ability to make decisions on your own behalf, an ordinary power of attorney will not be sufficient.  In these circumstances, you will need to consider a lasting power of attorney. If you wish to limit the scope of an ordinary power of attorney, you can draw up a limited power of attorney.  This stipulates exactly what your appointed person will be allowed to deal with.

Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting power of attorney (or LPA) allows you to appoint a person or persons to look after your business and financial concerns, but also your personal welfare, should you become mentally incapacitated. Unlike an ordinary power of attorney, an LPA must be registered in order to be legal.    There are two kinds of lasting power of attorney. Property Affairs LPA This allows your appointed person to look after any property, business, legal or financial matters on your behalf. Personal Welfare LPA Your appointed person will make decisions about where you live, your medical care (including the ability to refuse treatment) and your general welfare. You can create either one or the other kind of LPA, or both.  However, you don’t have to create both at the same time.

Applying for Deputyship

If a person becomes mentally incapacitated without appointing someone to act on their behalf and you wish to take on this role, you can apply for deputyship.  To do this, you need to contact the Office of the Public Guardian.

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