What Are Powers Of Attorney? - The Law House Family Law Solicitors, London & Peterborough

What Are Powers Of Attorney?


There are various types of Power of Attorney, but they all have one thing in common – they allow someone else to deal with your affairs. Until recently, Powers of Attorney were only concerned with financial affairs. However, there is now a new type of Power of Attorney which can, if you wish, deal with your personal welfare. From General Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Attorney to Lasting Powers of Attorney, The Law House can provide you with guidance on how you can plan for the future.

General Power of Attorney

Going away for a period of time or want to delegate a particular task to somebody? You may wish to draft a simple power of attorney as a quick and easy alternative to some of the more onerous powers of attorney that can be drawn up. It is usually a simple document appointing one or more persons to handle affairs limited to a particular subject or timescale.

Enduring Power of Attorney

Commonly referred to as EPAs, it is no longer possible to create new EPAs due to a change in legislation. However, it is possible to continue to use EPAs that were prepared prior to 01 October 2007. While the person who made the EPA (the donor) has capacity, an unregistered EPA can be used under their direction by the attorney, However, if the donor loses or begins to lose their mental capacity then the attorney must register the EPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Registration is governed by statute and must be strictly adhered to or the registration will be rejected which can mean lengthy delays in registering the EPA leaving the attorney’s powers limited in the meantime. Stones advises in all aspects relating to the use and registration of EPAs.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Introduced from 01 October 2007 by the Mental Capacity Act, Lasting Powers of Attorney (or LPAs as they are commonly known) are the updated versions of the EPA. There are two types of LPA, one that deal with property and affairs and the other that deals with personal welfare. Individuals may choose to complete one or the other or both. For both LPAs, neither can be used until such time as it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian

When completing a Property and Affairs LPA individuals are able to make wide ranging decisions about who should manage their property and how it should be managed. Attorneys can be pointed on an individual basis or on a joint basis or any combination of the two; in addition, replacement attorneys can also be appointed. Individuals can also place restrictions or conditions on the attorneyship.

Personal Welfare LPAs are similar documents to their Property and Affairs cousins in the variety of ways in which individuals are appointed. Different attorneys can be appointed in respect of the two LPAs. A Personal Welfare LPA can also expressly cover matter such as whether their Attorneys can refuse life-sustaining treatment on their behalf in a similar way to a ‘Living Will’.

In respect of both types of LPA a certificate provider will be needed to confirm that the individual is able to make the LPA. Stones are able to act as certificate provider in the vast majority of cases.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that an individual can only prepare one while they have sufficient mental capacity to do so and, therefore, if individuals want to be able to decide who has control of the decision making process they must make provision before it is too late.