What is a power of attorney?

Throughout this blog post, we will be going through what a power of attorney is, where it may be used, and more. Firstly, a power of attorney is the legal process of giving someone else the ability to make decisions on behalf of you. For instance, this may be used if you are over the age of 18 and are in a situation that prevents you from being able to make your own decisions. This may be caused by an illness or an accident.

What can a Power of Attorney be used for?

A power of attorney can be used for a range of things and is split up into two main types: health and welfare and financial/property affairs. You can choose to have either one of these or both. For instance, this can be used to allow another individual to do things such as sell a car, property on behalf of the principal (individual passing on the rights to another – also known as a ‘donor’), and take on any legal acts that they cannot carry out themselves.

Types of Power of Attorney

There are two main types of power of attorney:

Ordinary Power of Attorney

This essentially covers decisions surrounding your financial affairs and is best to use if the principal (‘donor’) is temporarily unwell or on holiday. Many people who may be in a later stage of their life and possibly have an illness may just apply for a lasting power of attorney in preparation for the future.

Lasting Power of Attorney

An LPA covers both financial decisions (which you would usually undertake) and health care matters. This will effectively come into play when you are at the point of which you no longer possess the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. There was also another type called ‘enduring power of attorney’ which covers financial decisions and property but was replaced by LPA in 2007.

What is Mental Capacity?

Throughout this blog, I have referred to mental capacity a lot in regard to the power of attorney. Essentially, a power of attorney is put in place usually in preparation for someone who will soon lack the mental capacity to make the necessary decisions for themselves. And mental capacity is exactly that. It is the ability for an individual to make at times or all the time. For those who apply for a PO, this is usually diminished by dementia, a learning disability, injury to the brain, or a list of many other things.

Another important point is that when you are looking to get an LPA for the future etc. You can only apply for an LPA when you have mental capacity, otherwise, you will need to apply to the court of protection which will choose a ‘deputy’ that will then make choices regarding financials/property and possibly personal welfare. However, many who have gone through route know that it is a longer and more invasive process when compared to an LPA. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you apply for a power of attorney before you lose mental capacity.

Thank you for reading this blog post. If you have any questions or wish to contact us, give us a call on 01865 487 136, we’re always happy to help.