A power of attorney is a legal document that authorises someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf if you are unable or unwilling to make your own decisions. There are several reasons why you might require someone to make choices or act on your behalf. This could be a temporary arrangement, such as if you’re in the hospital and need assistance with daily tasks like paying bills. However, you may need to have longer-term arrangements. For instance, if you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or you want future safeguards in place , should you start losing the mental capacity to make your own choices.
What are the Different Types of Power of Attorney?
There are three types of power of attorney, and you can choose to set up more than one if you wish. The first is ordinary power of attorney, which covers financial decisions and is valid if you have mental capacity. It is appropriate if you require coverage for a limited time (spending the night in hospital or vacation), find it difficult to leave the house, or want someone to act on your behalf.
The second type of power of attorney covers decisions about your financial affairs as well as your health and care. It comes into effect when you lose mental capacity or no longer want to make decisions for yourself. If you want to be sure you’re covered in the future, you should set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
The third type is an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) , which was replaced by the lasting power of attorney in October 2007. If you created and signed an enduring power of attorney before October 1, 2007, it will still be valid. An LPA governs property and financial decisions, and it takes effect if you lose mental capacity or want somebody to act on your behalf.
What is Mental Capacity?
Mental capacity is defined as the ability to make or communicate specific decisions when they are required. To be mentally capable, you must understand the decision you must make, why you must make it, and the probable consequence of that decision. Some individuals will be able to decide on certain issues but not on others. For instance, they may be able to make decisions on what to eat for dinner but unable to comprehend and organise their homeowner’s insurance. Alternatively, their decision-making ability may fluctuate day by day.
How Do You Set one up?
If you want to create an ordinary power of attorney, you should contact your local Citizen’s Advice or seek legal advice because there is a standard form of wording that must be used. To obtain the necessary forms and information for a lasting power of attorney, contact the Office of the Public Guardian. The forms can be downloaded or filled out online.
You can complete the forms on your own or with the assistance of a solicitor or a local advice agency. Getting professional advice can help you avoid problems later on, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process or your affairs are complicated.
Van Eaton Solicitors provides professional legal advice to clients in England and Wales when entering into any type of agreement. Contact us today to see how we can assist you with your claim. Or, find out more about how to challenge the power of attorney on our previous blog here.