Setting up Power of Attorney allows you to nominate one or two trusted individuals to oversee your affairs in case they become too much for you.
You could say Powers of Attorney are even more important than a Will because you are dead when your Will kicks in; you are alive when Powers of Attorney kicks in. Government thinks it matters. They started a campaign in February 2015 #choice not chance to raise the level of knowledge about this vital document.
A Power of Attorney has different names across the UK. In England and Wales it’s a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA; in Northern Ireland it’s an Enduring Power of Attorney; in Scotland it’s a Continuing Power of Attorney. They all give power to someone of your choice to make decisions for you for the rest of your life if you are deemed by doctors to be unable to make decisions.
You could nominate a partner, parent, child, sibling, close friend or a professional (eg your solicitor or accountant) or a combination of people.
There are two types of Power of Attorney:
(In Scotland there is also a Combined Power of Attorney for both.)
A Power of Attorney can only be used once it has been registered with the appropriate government office. It must also be signed by a doctor or solicitor to certify that you are of sound mind and free to grant this power.
Your instruction must be registered with the appropriate Office for it to be legal.
Costs vary in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. There may be help if you are on a low income or benefits.
England and Wales
This can only be done on an official form. See details and complete the application form here:
For help contact: The Office of the Public Guardian, PO Box 16185, Birmingham B2 2WH.
Tel: 0300 456 0300. Email the Guardian’s office.
See details and sample application forms here. For help contact: The Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland), Hadrian House, Callendar Business Park, Callendar Road, Falkirk FK1 1XR. Tel: 01324 678300.
Email the Guardian’s office.
See details here. For help contact: The Office of Care and Protection, Room 2.2A, Second Floor, Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast BT1 3JF. Tel: (028) 9072 4733.
A Power of Attorney can NOT be used immediately. It has to be registered first. This could take around 13 weeks – times can vary. The government Office checks the application to make sure there are no problems. There is also a 6 week period when people have a chance to object to it. A court or a medical professional will help decide if someone has lost the mental capacity to make decisions.
Cancelling a Power of Attorney
You can cancel or revoke a Power of Attorney at any time. It must be registered again with the Office that holds the Power of Attorney.
Get professional help
We have a network of professional independent advisers who can help. Contact us.
Keep track of your paperwork in your My Final Fling Safe Deposit Box. It’s free and secure to store your paperwork here and you can share it safely with your Keyholder so that it’s easy to access ‘in the event’.