Lasting powers of attorney

When we plan for the future, we must face up to the possibility of future events which may be unwelcome. This includes the possibility of becoming unable to make decisions for ourselves due to physical or mental incapacity, whether brought on by an accident, illness or old age.

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document to appoint people you know and trust to look after your property and financial affairs or health and welfare should you become unable to do so yourself. It is like an insurance policy in case you lose your mental capacity or become physically frail.

How do they work?
Before your chosen attorneys can use the powers, they must, first of all, be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

The OPG check the forms to ensure they have been completed correctly and that the procedural requirements to have them registered have been complied with.

Assuming everything is in order, the OPG will stamp the forms to confirm their registration and return them to us. We, normally, then have the forms locked away in our strongroom for safe-keeping until they need to be used.

Can I include restrictions?
Yes. You can, for example, state that your attorneys can only act for you if you lose your mental capacity. We can advise you on the restrictions that are possible and are permitted by the OPG.

What safeguards are there?  
Firstly, you select someone you know or someone you trust, like a Solicitor or GP, to be your certificate provider. They will discuss your forms with you and counter-sign them for you if they agree the forms have been completed in accordance with your wishes and that no one is putting any pressure on you to make the powers in their favour.

Secondly, you may nominate someone you know to be told about your lasting power of attorney forms. If they have any concerns about your chosen attorneys, they can contact the OPG about their concerns before your forms are registered.

What happens when my attorneys need to use the powers?
If your attorneys need to look after your financial affairs, we will send them certified copies of your property and financial affairs form for their use.

Your attorneys will take or send a copy to your bank, building society, pension provider, or other financial institution with whom you are affiliated. They will then be registered on your accounts, pension policy, or other financial assets, and will be able to access/operate them on your behalf.

If your attorneys need to make health and welfare decisions for you, again, we will provide them with certified copies of your health and welfare form to be registered with your GP or other health professionals involved in your care.

Lasting powers of attorney for business owners
It is important to choose someone familiar with your business to act as your attorney and this might mean selecting different attorneys for business and personal affairs. Click here for more information.

Need advice?
Contact us if you would like to make a lasting power of attorney or for further information.