A Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables you (provided you have the 'mental capacity') to choose someone you trust to act as your Attorney and to make decisions on your behalf.
There are 3 different sorts of Power of Attorney:
These come in two sub- types:
- the 'Property and Financial Affairs LPA' - which gives your Attorney the authority to deal with your property and finances
- the 'Health and Welfare LPA' - which gives your attorney the authority to make welfare and health care decisions on your behalf, but only when you lack mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.
- An Enduring Power of Attorney
It is no longer possible to grant a new Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) since they were superceded by the LPA in October 2007.
Whilst existing EPAs are still legally valid, serious considerations should be given to updating to an LPA, primarily because there is much less chance of an LPA being misused.
- A General Power of Attorney
These may be used where the donor needs a family member or friend to look after their affairs temporarily. Once the temporary purpose has ended, the power is no longer valid.
Similarly, if the donor loses mental capacity, the power is automatically cancelled - just when the Power of Attorney could be most needed. In those circumstances, concerned family or friends would have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
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