Power of Attorney: Do I need one?

by | Nov 30 2020 | Wills & Probate

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Power of Attorney | Read Time 3-5 Minutes. 

No one wants to think that one day they might lack the ability to make decisions for themselves. If you’re asking yourself; why do I need a power of attorney? Remember that it’s all about preparing for the future. To make sure that you are supported and organised should things take a turn for the worse.

It’s not the easiest thing to admit to yourself, or to your loved ones, that you might need to be looked after in the future. But organising your affairs in advance will save everyone from difficulties later on. It’s important to put arrangements in place before they’re needed so your  affairs can be managed with ease

Given the current climate surrounding the pandemic, many more people are choosing to appoint a power of attorney. Anxieties around who you can trust to manage your estate can be extreme, let alone during the pressure of the pandemic. Having a trusted attorney appointed for you can ease your mind and take some pressure off.

LGBT Lawyers a couple discussing power of attorney

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is when an individual, (known as the donor) elects someone else (known as the attorney) to handle their affairs should they need it. This includes responsibility over your finances and health and wellbeing, should you become sick.

Your attorney, and their responsibilities, are entirely up to you. However, that person must only do what you have asked of them and must not act beyond their duties. You can have more than one power of attorney, as long as they are over 18 and are capable of making decisions.

What is an Lpa?

An LPA is the most used type of power of attorney. You should elect an LPA if you have been diagnosed with an illness that might prevent you from making your own decisions in the future. Examples of a condition where you might need an LPA include:

  • Dementia
  • Brain injury
  • Mental health issues

LPA’s split into two categories: Health and Welfare or Property and Finances.

A property and finance lasting LPA has the authority to deal with matters such as property, financial accounts, tax affairs and debts. Alternatively, a health and welfare LPA has the power to deal with issues such as healthcare treatment, day to day care and any living arrangements.

You don’t have to have both types of LPA simultaneously, and if you want to choose different people for each LPA, you can do that too. If you’re thinking of making an LPA, you need to do so when you can still make decisions for yourself. Having some legal support when creating your LPA can be helpful, especially if you want to choose which LPA is used. A lawyer can help you to outline any responsibilities. 

General Power of Attorney

We only use a General Power of Attorney for a temporary period. For example, you may use a General Power of Attorney if you:

  • Have a physical illness
  • Have had an accident that leads to a physical injury
  • Are abroad of a long period

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

If you want someone to look after your affairs for a more elongated period, you can use an LPA. A Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, is appointed by the donor to act on their behalf. The donor selects an LPA to use if/when the donor loses their mental capacity.

Special or Limited Power of Attorney

This is when the donor gives the attorney authority to handle specific matters chosen by them. The person who is elected can only deal with some issues, chosen by the donor. Having a special power of attorney can often be blurry when it comes to the donee’s responsibilities. We would always recommend having a lawyer to help you. A lawyer can write up the attorney’s responsibilities so everything is clear for them.

LGBT Lawyers grandma and child discussing power of attorney

WHY DO I NEED A POWER OF ATTORNEY?

When you want to apply for a power of attorney, you’ll need to fill out some forms online. You will need to fill in an LP3 form and an LP2 form to register and outline the responsibilities of your LPA. Then, you can register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. The process of filling in your forms can be complicated, and you might feel pressured into appointing certain people above others. Having a lawyer can be essential to protect from fraudulent documents and to make sure that every decision made is yours and yours alone.

Your will can protect you, your wishes and your affairs when you pass. However, a power of attorney is essential to support and protect your interests before you die. It is not legally compulsory to have a power of attorney. However, without allocating an attorney to sort out affairs, confusion can follow if duties and responsibilities are unclear.

Sometimes, individuals may contest their LPA. Sometimes they may think their decision is forced or their forms have may be fraudulent. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

LGBT Lawyers can connect you to a team of skilled wills & probate lawyers who specialise in drafting wills and helping clients appoint powers of attorney.

Need an LGBT Lawyer on your side?

We’re here to assist. Just tell us what you need help with and we’ll call you back to arrange a meeting.

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