Power of Attorney, or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) as it is also known, is the process of officially nominating a person or people to legally act upon your behalf if you subsequently cease to be able to make your own decisions for any reason, or if you subsequently choose and permit for such a person or people to act out of convenience. This process is undertaken through a court and can be likened to having the same benefits of having a Will, however you would still be alive if it is ever required.
Your selected attorneys do NOT have any power to act unless you either lose your mental capacity, or you expressly permit them to act on your behalf.
If an individual acting in any professional capacity takes instruction from anyone on your behalf without LPA in place, 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 or informal instructions from third parties.
If LPA has not been arranged and a person then 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 or believe that this is only a consideration after serious illness has occurred to them. 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 potentially allowing a lot of stress and cost for our loved ones if we subsequently lose capacity to make our own decisions.
For further details, please refer to Power of Attorney page.