Mugford & Co Wills (Fareham) Ltd
Powers of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
A basic power of attorney is a legal document whereby you appoint someone, known as the attorney, to act on your behalf.
This can be for all of your property and financial affairs, or limited to specific things such as the sale of a house whilst overseas.
It could be limited in duration, to allow your attorney to deal with something whilst you are overseas or in hospital.
Loss of Mental Capacity
The problem was that this potentially very useful document came to an end if the person giving the power, known as the donor, lost their mental capacity,
through illness such as dementia or a stroke or otherwise. This frequently undermined the very reason many people wanted to make one, that is to allow
someone to deal with your affairs when you cannot. So the government introduced the Enduring Power of Attorney ("EPA"), which endured beyond the donor's
subsequent loss of mental capacity.
An EPA was a simple document that worked reasonably well, but it had some pitfalls. So the government introduced the Lasting Power of Attorney ("LPA"),
which is much longer and requires much more form filling and requires registration before it can be used. Don't worry if you have a valid EPA, it will
continue to be valid, but no new EPA can be made.
The disadvantages of an LPA is that is longwinded and has a variety of forms and hoops to go through with all the potential for errors, which makes it
more expensive than an EPA, together with the registration fee. The advantage is that there is greater safeguard against abuse and it can cover more than
just financial and property matters. In addition there is a health and welfare LPA, addressing matters such as the healthcare you would want or not want
but would no longer be able to state for yourself.
Why Make an LPA?
An LPA is a legal document to allow someone you trust to manage your affairs and act on your behalf particularly when you are unable to do so for yourself.
It should not be put off until you think you might be going to need one, as you cannot make an LPA once you have lost mental capacity and you might not know
when you are starting to lose mental capacity or it might happen suddenly, such as by a stroke or a car accident.
An LPA enables you to appoint who you would most trust and think most appropriate to act on your behalf. This might be a member of your family or a friend
or a professional. You should discuss it first with the person you are considering appointing.
What Would Happen Without an LPA?
If you do lose the ability to manage your own affairs and have neither an LPA or an old EPA, then an application to the court can be made for someone to be
appointed to a role similar to that of an attorney, but you would have no control over who would be appointed. The process would take much longer and
would be very much more expensive than if you had an LPA in the first place. You would not be able to state your wishes or impose restrictions on their actions.
The Next Step
If you are interested in making an LPA then let me know and I can arrange an appointment to go through it with you. The fees of Mugford & Co Wills (Fareham) Ltd
for discussing the options, advising on the law and preparing and all of the forms are significantly lower than most solicitors' firms. Also there is
currently no VAT on these fees.
Please contact Richard Mugford for further information.