What Does It Mean to Have a Power of Attorney?

The idea that you may not always be capable of making your own decisions can be incredibly worrying. However, it’s a reality that many people in the UK face every year, as they come to the realisation that they may need somebody else to step in and make decisions for them.

There are many reasons why you may decide that it’s time to appoint somebody else to make decisions for you. It could be a result of a recent dementia diagnosis, a condition that more than 850,000 people in the UK live with. It may even be a temporary measure, when you know that you’re going to be unable to make decisions about your life for a short amount of time.

Whichever case it may be, to legalise the agreement that somebody else will be responsible for your decisions, you need to set up a power of attorney.

What is a Power of Attorney?

Setting up a power of attorney means completing a legal document that stipulates that another person will be wholly responsible for decisions made for you, in the event that you’re unable to make decisions yourself, or when such a time comes that you don’t want to make decisions any more.

In the document, you’ll be able to appoint one or more ‘attorneys’, to make decisions for you, or aid you in making decisions. This can just be a provisional measure, giving you control if something happens that is unexpected, such as in the case of a vehicle accident that renders you unable to look after yourself or make decisions in hospital. It can also be long-term, if you have been diagnosed with a condition that will leave you lacking in mental capacity.

The Types of Power of Attorney

There are different types of power of attorney, that it’s important to know about if you’re considering setting up a power of attorney yourself or getting advice from a solicitor.

The first type of power of attorney to consider, are two different forms of decision-making power:

  • Decisions over your finances, such as the payment of bills, investments, or control over the purchase of essentials.
  • Decisions over your health and care, such as medical treatment, excercise, and diet.
    You can create a power of attorney to address one type of decision, or you can create a power of attorney to address both types of decision.

The second type of power of attorney to consider involves the period in which the power of attorney will be required:

Ordinary Power of Attorney – Capable of handling financial affairs as a temporary measure, such as in the event of time spent in the hospital.

Lasting Power of Attorney – Capable of making decisions about finance, healthcare, or both, when you have lost mental capacity or decide you are incapable of making decisions.

Enduring Power of Attorney – Only applicable if set up before the 1st of October 2007, an enduring power of attorney can handle financial affairs in the event of a loss of mental capacity.

The Procedure for Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney

The process for appointing a lasting power of attorney is relatively simple, although, it’s always crucial to seek legal help when undergoing to process, as it concerns very important matters.

The first step is to choose an attorney, or multiple attorneys. This can be a friend, relative, partner, or even a top solicotr in the UK who will act on your behalf. The person you choose needs to be trustworthy and capable of handling your affairs and their own.

The second step is to fill in the appropriate forms and make sure that you thoroughly understand what they will allow your attorney to do. These need to be signed by witnesses that include: a certificate provider, your attorney, and yourself.

The final step is to register the power of attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian. This process can take up to a period of 10 weeks.

Whether you would like to begin the process of setting up an ordinary or lasting power of attorney, you need advice on behalf of someone with a lasting power of attorney, or you want to end a power of attorney, the Gulbenkian Andonian lawyers in London can help. Please call our expert solicitors in the UK today for advice, guidance, and support for any power of attorney queries or problems.