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Powers of attorney

What is a lasting power of attorney?

Lasting Power of Attorney – what is it and do you need one?

Power of Attorney is one of those things that most people have heard of but unless they have had to deal with them are a bit of a mystery.

In this post, we’ll run through what a lasting power of attorney actually is and some situations where they may be useful.

It’s important to note that the law is different between Scotland and England and Wales. This post relates to the law as it stands in England and Wales.

The underlying aim of any power of attorney is to give power to someone else to act on your behalf in certain circumstances and over defined aspects of your life.

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What is a lasting power of attorney?

There are two types of lasting power of attorney; Health and welfare & Property and Financial Affairs.

They are designed to deal with different situations and understanding the difference is key to identifying when they should be used.

A Health and Welfare Power of Attorney allows someone else to make decisions about your social care or health care treatment.

This person, called an attorney can take control of your affairs is you are unable to do so.

They can make decisions about your health care regimen, your diet, clothing, daily routine and a variety of other issues that might be related to your wellbeing.

A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney is, as the name suggests related to your financial affairs.

As your attorney, the person has the ability to open and close bank accounts, move or spend money on your behalf and even sell your house.

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Who can be an attorney?

You can have anyone over the age of 18 as your attorney.

The most important aspect of your choice is that it is someone you trust to understand and carry out your wishes.

They could be a family friend, a relation or even a member of a professional firm but they may need to make difficult decisions on your behalf and so you need to be confident they understand you and your wishes.

As part of the process, you can appoint more than one attorney and you can even decide how they take decisions whether it be Jointly (taking decisions together), Jointly and Severally (together or on their own) or by some method of vote such as a majority.

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When is a Lasting power of attorney useful?

You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney at any time as it will only come into force if you are unable to make decisions on your own behalf.

Often people will make a power of attorney if they have an illness where they know they will become incapacitated but that doesn’t have to be the case.

In fact, it is a sensible idea to make a Lasting Power of Attorney during the Will making process as you are thinking about many of the same issues.

Sadly, many people are incapacitated through unforeseen accidents or illness and don’t get the chance to decide who should run their affairs.

One of the biggest benefits of making this kind of document is that you get a chance to formally set out your wishes, in the same way as a Will covers your wishes after your death.

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How Smart Will can help

Making a power of attorney can often seem a confusing and opaque process but it doesn’t have to be.

We have experts who are qualified and experienced in all aspects of Power of Attorneys and can walk you through the process.

Drop us a line or call us and we’ll be happy to help you decide whether this is suitable for you and assist you in setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney. Alternatively, you can start the process by letting us know via the Smart Will App by downloading here. 

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