Power of Attorney, or Lasting Power of Attorney as it is also known, is an official safety net whereby you can officially nominate, in advance, a person or people who may legally act upon your behalf either if you cease to be capable of making your own decisions for any reason, or if you choose and permit for such a person or people to act out of convenience (holiday absence, reluctance to deal with companies over the telephone, etc.).
Informal agreements with banks, building societies, doctors, hospitals, solicitors, business contacts, creditors and debtors, etc., are a thing of the past. This is also the case for informal resuscitation and life support wishes. If an individual acting in any professional capacity takes instruction from anyone who does NOT have official authority to act on behalf of someone else, that professional individual stands to be subject to legal proceedings if they make a mistake. Therefore, professionals and institutions are now understandably reluctant to act upon any unofficial and informal instructions.
If Lasting Power of Attorney has not been arranged and a person loses their mental capacity, a representative (usually a family member) must apply to a Court to obtain limited decision-making power on behalf of the patient. This can take many months, even into years, and usually costs anywhere between £465 and £1,315 PLUS an additional security bond fee in relation to a patient’s finances initially, PLUS ongoing annual costs of between £35 and £320. The variance between these figures is due to the specific nature of each application.
Having LPA in place before a person loses their mental capacity will avoid all the above time and financial constraints thereafter.
There are various reasons why people ignore the option to arrange Power of Attorney. They may find the term confusing. Some people believe that this is only a consideration after serious illness has occurred to them, and others have a sense of invincibility which has convinced them that Power of Attorney does not apply to them.
By ignoring Power of Attorney, we are merely handing a lot of stress and cost over to our loved ones if we subsequently lose capacity to make our own decisions.
Please refer to our Power-of-Attorney page for further details.