The Importance of making Powers of Attorney

(only applicable in England and Wales)

The simple, straightforward way to make your wishes known.

Making a Will is important so that your true wishes are known in the event of your death. However for many, the worry about how their financial affairs should be managed if they leave the country on an extended holiday, are housebound, become ill or mentally incapable is also an important consideration. If you believe one of these circumstances may affect you, besides making a Will, you should consider arranging a Power of Attorney.

Two types of Power of Attorney are available through Redstone Wills:

General Power of Attorney - enables you to appoint someone to deal with your property and affairs whilst you are still capable. This is the perfect solution if you were to go on extended holiday, became ill or housebound. It does not continue in the event of mental incapacity.

Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Affairs - enables you to appoint someone to deal with your financial affairs and property and this continues in the event that you lose the mental capacity to do so.

What is a General Power of Attorney?

A General Power of Attorney gives your nominated Attorney authority to make decisions and action those decisions on your behalf. This could include buying or selling property or shares, signing cheques etc.

Usually, a General Power of Attorney is created for a set period of time in cases where the donor is going abroad or is unable to act for some other reason and wishes someone else to have the authority to act on his or her behalf.

A General Power of Attorney will usually end either at a specified time or upon the request of the donor at any time using a Deed of Revocation and will automatically be revoked if the donor loses mental capacity.

When can my Attorneys start to act?

There is no requirement for the General Power of Attorney to be registered and consequently a General Power of Attorney can be used straight away.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives you the opportunity to appoint someone you trust to take over your affairs when you are no longer able or willing to. A Lasting Power of Attorney will still have effect even if you lose mental capacity.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney as follows:

Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney - allows your attorney authority to deal with your property and finances, as you specify.

Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney - allows your attorney to make welfare and health care decisions on your behalf, only when you lack mental capacity to do so yourself. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.

Who should I appoint as an Attorney?

You should take care when deciding who to appoint as your Attorney. They should be trustworthy and have the appropriate skills to manage your affairs.

You should discuss the role with your potential attorney as it is a large responsibility for them to take on.

What is a Certificate Provider?

Someone you choose to certify that you are fully aware of the consequences of preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney and that it is your decision to appoint your nominated attorney(s).

Your Certificate Provider can be someone you have known personally for over two years but who is not a family member or the attorney themselves, or a professional person who believes they have the expertise to certify.

When can my Attorneys start to act?

A Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. The registration process takes approximately 8 weeks.

Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney – as soon as the document has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian, your attorneys can begin to act.

Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney – your attorneys can only act if you no longer have the mental capacity to act.