Powers of Attorney

Giving you control over your future

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a versatile and useful document. It exists to enable you to appoint a person or a number of people (your attorneys) to act on your behalf, if you should lose your mental capacity – that is the mental capacity to manage your own affairs.

Understanding your options

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:

  • Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney – the most common, this enables your attorney or attorneys to do things on your behalf like pay bills; set up standing orders or direct debits; pay care fees; sell property and withdraw money from your bank account. They would also be able to handle your investments for you.
  • Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney – this enables your attorney to decide where you live, the type and location of care you receive and whether to continue with or discontinue life-sustaining treatment.

You might want to use the same person or the same people as attorney for both types or you might want to involve different people.

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You can also nominate an independent third party to be informed that you are making a Lasting Power of Attorney, if you wish there to be some measure of accountability for your chose attorney(s).

You also need to select a so-called “Certificate Provider”. They will sign the Lasting Power of Attorney to confirm that you understand what you are doing and are entering into the Lasting Power of Attorney of your own free will and with a good comprehension of the implications and consequences of doing so. That Certificate Provider can be a legal advisor, medical practitioner or other close friend, and, if we are instructed to prepare and register a Lasting Power of Attorney for you, we would complete this section for you within our standard fees.

Being prepared

Some people feel like there is an implicit admission of some loss of capacity in making or even discussing a Lasting Power of Attorney.

This is not the case. It simply means that you are planning for the future and putting someone you trust in a position to manage your affairs should you, one day, be unable to manage them yourself. In fact, you cannot make a Lasting Power of Attorney if you lack capacity.

You can include guidance and limitations within your Lasting Power of Attorney; for example, restricting its use until a medical professional has certified that you are no longer able to manage your affairs. This can give you reassurance that personal decisions will not be prematurely taken out of your hands.

Our advice is that your Lasting Powers of Attorney are registered once prepared. Registering means the Office of the Public Guardian will check the document for any issues so that amends can be made before all is finalised. Registering also means that if you lose your capacity in the future, the document is ready so that your attorney can carry out their ‘Powers’ without delay.

You can revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney provided you still have capacity. This can happen if attorneys have themselves passed away or if you want to revise the document due to changes in your circumstances.

If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and you lose your capacity, your financial affairs can still be managed for you by someone making a Deputyship application on your behalf. However, this can be an expensive and time-consuming process and does not guarantee that your affairs will be managed in the way you might have intended.

A team you can trust

Solicitors For The Elderly Accredited (thumb)At K J Smith Solicitors, our Estate Planning & Wealth Management team are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), an internationally recognised organisation whose members consist of accountants and lawyers and who are specially qualified to advise on and assist with Estate Planning & Wealth Management matters.

Our Estate Planning & Wealth Management team are also members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) a specialist group of lawyers who are qualified to advise more elderly clients on matters of particular concern to them.

We offer a free initial 15 minute telephone appointment to give you the opportunity to speak to us about a Lasting Power of Attorney, before deciding if you wish to proceed in instructing us to act on your behalf.

Please contact K J Smith Solicitors on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke), 01483 370100 (Guildford), 01494 629000 (Beaconsfield), 01235 375500 (Abingdon), 01344 513000 (Ascot) or email info@kjsmith.co.uk.

We also serve a wide range of other areas including Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, Wokingham, and High Wycombe.

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If you would like to visit our team of family solicitors, we have offices in Henley-on-Thames, Reading (Woodley), Windsor, Basingstoke, Guildford, Beaconsfield, Abingdon and Ascot. We serve a wide range of other areas including Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, High Wycombe and Wokingham.

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