Power of attorney
There are two types of Power of Attorney.
An Ordinary Power of Attorney allows you to have someone managing your affairs or making some decisions on your behalf, even when you are able to do so yourself or make all of your own decisions.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to plan ahead for a time when you may have difficulty making some decisions for yourself because of a change in your mental abilities (also known as your mental capacity).
This is a legal document giving someone else authority to act on your (the donor's) behalf. However it is different from an LPA because it is only valid if you have mental capacity to make all of your own decisions about your finances. You can therefore continue to advise the person making decisions for you (your attorney), and keep an eye on what they are doing. You can limit the power you give to your attorney so that they can only deal with certain assets, for example, your bank account but not your home.
The Mental Capacity Act introduced a new type of power of attorney that replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). It is known as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a legal document. This allows people to choose someone who can make decisions about their health and welfare, as well as their finances and property. The 'attorney' is the person chosen to make decisions on their behalf.
There are two types of LPA:
- Property and affairs LPA - this gives the attorney(s) the power to make decisions about the person's financial and property matters, such as selling a house or managing a bank account. The attorney can make a decision on behalf of the person, even if the person has the mental capacity to do so, unless the person has stated otherwise.
- Personal welfare LPA - this gives the attorney(s) the power to make decisions about the person's health and personal welfare, such as day-to-day care, medical treatment, or where they should live. The attorney can only make a decision if the person lacks the mental capacity to do so at the time the decision needs to be made.
The Alzheimers Society provide a factsheet called "Lasting powers of attorney" with more information.
To create an LPA you can fill out the forms on the Gov.uk website.
Office of the Public Guardian
You can find out more about how LPAs work from the Office of the Public Guardian - this is the official agency which supports the Public Guardian in the registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), and the supervision of deputies appointed by the Court of Protection
They can advise you on how to prepare an LPA and how much it costs. It will need to be registered with the office before it can be used.
The National Care Line website gives information on a number of subjects as well as Power of Attorney.
If the person whose affairs you will manage has dementia or Alzheimer's disease, you can get independent information and advice from the Alzheimer's Society.
The Age UK website also provides information on Power of Attorney.
The Money Advice Service website provides advice on Power of Attorney.
The Which website offers advice on all aspects of Power of Attorney.
If you are struggling to manage your money and pay for things by yourself then Pay Your Way offers a guide on safe ways in which you can allow other people to pay for things on your behalf, whilst still staying in control of your finances.
The Alzheimers Society has produced a Dementia-friendly Financial Services Charter which promotes the rights of people with dementia, and aims to ensure that providers of independent financial services do not take advantage of them and / or sell them products which they do not need.