There are several reasons why an individual may want to set up a power of attorney. If you need someone to make decisions on your behalf, setting up a power of attorney is never a decision that is to be taken lightly. No matter whether you are in hospital and need someone to look after your bills temporarily or you have been diagnosed with an illness that affects your mental capacity, such as dementia, you may need another party to make decisions for you. It may be a last resort decision that you choose to make, but it is an important one, nonetheless.
If you need to set up a power of attorney, there are expert solicitors in London who can help. Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham Hill, we can help guide you through the process, ensuring that your assets will be taken care of should you lose the mental capacity to handle them yourself. If you are considering electing another party to help you make major decisions, you need to make sure you are taking all the legal and necessary steps required.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more individuals to help you make decisions, or to make decisions for you. This gives you control when you lose the ability to make these decisions yourself, such as if you are involved in an accident or diagnosed with a condition such as dementia.
There are three common types: ordinary, lasting, or enduring power of attorney. A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is the most common, and you can appoint someone to make major decisions about your finances and health. You can find out more about the power of attorney documents in our previous article here.
You can appoint anyone in these circumstances; they do not have to be a close relative, such as your spouse or child, just someone that you trust to assist you should you lose mental capacity. When making decisions, the attorney must follow all instructions the ‘donor’ (the person who appointed you as their attorney) included in the LPA. You should attempt to help the donor make decisions as best you can, and all decisions must be in the donor’s best interest.
Steps You Can Take
The first step you need to take when setting up a power of attorney is to choose the people that you wish to appoint. You can have more than one attorney, and they must be individuals that you trust to make decisions on your behalf that you would otherwise make yourself.
They need to be 18 or over, and they must also have the mental capacity to make decisions for you. You will then need to fill in the relevant forms to make them an attorney. You can either do this online or via paper forms. The attorneys and witnesses will also need to sign them. You can also request the help of a solicitor to help you fill in the forms.
You can create an account to start your LPA here, or you can download the forms from the Governments website. If you need a solicitor to ensure that all legalities have been adhered to, they can assist you in filling out the forms and ensure that everything is above board. Following this, you must then register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. This process can take up to 20 weeks, and it costs £82 to register, unless you are exempt, or you are offered a reduction.
How Litigation Solicitors Can Help
A solicitor can help you get your affairs in order and make your wishes known, making sure that everything is legally signed and witnessed. Acquiring the help of a solicitor could help reduce the chance of disputes arising in the future, especially if the claims involve invalidity. Here at Van Eaton, we can assist with a range of probate disputes, from wills and inheritance to appointing a power of attorney.
To find out more, or to book a consultation, please get in touch today by calling 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, please fill out our online contact form here.