Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney
We all hope to remain healthy and independent but, unfortunately, this is not always the case. For some of us, there will come a time when we are not physically or mentally able to make decisions in respect of our finances or our welfare. For this reason it is worth planning in advance so someone you know and trust can manage your affairs for you if the need arises.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you. Or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.
There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf:
- This could just be a temporary situation. For example, if you’re in hospital and need help with everyday tasks such as paying bills.
- You may need to make longer-term plans if. For example, you have been diagnosed with dementia and you may lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.
Ordinary power of attorney
This covers decisions about your financial affairs and is valid while you have mental capacity. It is suitable if you need cover for a temporary period (hospital stay or holiday). Or if you find it hard to get out, or you want someone to act for you.
Lasting power of attorney (LPA)
An LPA covers decisions about your financial affairs, or your health and care. It comes into effect if you lose mental capacity, or if you no longer want to make decisions for yourself. You would set up an LPA if you want to make sure you’re covered in the future.
Enduring power of attorney (EPA)
EPAs were replaced by LPAs in October 2007. However, if you made and signed an EPA before 1 October 2007, it should still be valid. An EPA covers decisions about your property and financial affairs. It comes into effect if you lose mental capacity, or if you want someone to act on your behalf.