At Elite Law, our friendly and approachable team of power of attorney solicitors have extensive experience of advising clients on the drafting, registration and execution of powers of attorney.
A power of attorney is a legal document that you can put in place to grant someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf, on either a short-term or long-term basis.
You may wish to grant a power of attorney if you are in hospital and need someone to temporarily handle your affairs, or if you suffer an injury or have been diagnosed with a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s and anticipate that in the future you will not have the mental capacity to make decisions by yourself.
There are different powers of attorney that you can grant depending on your specific needs.
There is a common misconception that a person’s spouse or next of kin can make decisions for them without a power of attorney in place. This is not correct and although people can assist someone who lacks capacity in respect of their health and welfare under the Mental Capacity Act, family members cannot help with a person’s finances unless they have been granted a power of attorney or have applied to the Court of Protection for a Court Order appointing them to deal with a person’s finances. This process can be a costly one and can take several months.
Experienced Power of Attorney solicitors
At Elite Law Solicitors, we have extensive experience and a great depth of knowledge in this area of law. Our team regularly prepare powers of attorney for clients based all over the country.
In addition to office meetings, we also offer virtual meetings via telephone or video conferencing software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams so can assist you wherever you are based.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one for Property and Financial Affairs and one for Health and Welfare. Each is a separate legal document, and each can appoint the same or different attorneys.
Each document can appoint a first-choice attorney or joint attorneys and one or more reserve attorneys.
Where joint attorneys are appointed, they can either be appointed “jointly” only, which means they must do everything together, or “jointly and severally”, which means that they can act together or independently from one another.
Lasting Powers of Attorney can include preferences to guide your attorneys and instructions which are binding on your attorneys. Should you choose to instruct us, one of our team will discuss your circumstances with you in detail and guide you in respect of preferences and instructions that you may wish to include.
Lasting Powers of Attorneys need to be signed in the presence of a witness and, after the person making them has signed them, there is a section that needs to be signed by a Certificate Provider who has advised them. Our power of attorney solicitors can witness all signatures on Lasting Powers of Attorneys and act as Certificate Provider.
Once a Lasting Power of Attorney has been signed by all of the relevant people it must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. Since that process takes several weeks, we recommend that Lasting Powers of Attorney are registered upon completion and we will prepare and submit the application to register your Lasting Powers of Attorney on your behalf.
Once a Lasting Power of Attorney is complete, we can provide you with copies and hold the original document for you in our safe storage.
Why is it important to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place?
The importance of having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place came to light following Kate Garraway’s heartbreaking story of her husband Derek’s lengthy battle with Covid-19. The TV presenter and former I’m A Celeb contestant spoke about the financial difficulties she encountered following Derek’s lengthy hospitalisation:
“Like many things the car is entirely in Derek’s name, the insurance is in Derek’s name, a lot of our bank accounts […] which is making life very complicated because I can’t get access to things because legally, I haven’t got power of attorney”.
If you have not done so already, it may be worth taking some time to consider what provisions are in place if you were in an accident, or diagnosed with an illness, that took away your capacity to make everyday decisions.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs?
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs enables your attorney to make decisions relating to your property and finances. This can include the day-to-day responsibilities of managing your current and savings accounts; paying bills, rent, or mortgage; and collecting your benefits or pension.
It can also give your attorney the authority to make larger financial decisions, such as whether to sell your property or other assets, for example to help pay for your care.
If you have a business, it may be appropriate for you to include authority to deal with your business in your power of attorney for property and financial affairs or for you to have a separate power of attorney for that purpose. One of our experienced power of attorney solicitors can discuss these options with you and advise you accordingly.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs can be used at your discretion when you have capacity and when you lack capacity.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare?
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare deals with decisions which your attorneys can make in relation to your health and welfare only when you do not have the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself, whether it is a temporary loss of capacity or a permanent loss.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare can allow your attorneys to make decisions including the type of medical care you should receive, where you should live and the medical care you should receive.
As part of the Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare you will need to make a specific decision regarding whether your attorneys have your authority to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment on your behalf.
It is very common to include instructions about medical treatment that you may want to receive or prefer not to receive in certain situations. Our experienced power of attorney solicitors can discuss this with you and provide you with examples of how your wishes can be set out to guide your attorneys.
How much does a Lasting Power of Attorney cost?
There is a court fee of £82.00 to register each Lasting Power of Attorney, this fee is payable to the Office of the Public Guardian and is not subject to VAT.
At Elite Law Solicitors, we charge fixed fees for preparing and registering Lasting Powers of Attorneys. Our services usually include:
Taking detailed instructions
Providing bespoke advice
Preparing the appropriate documentation
Arranging a meeting to complete the documents
Acting as certificate provider
Liaising with attorneys to arrange for them to sign the documents
Preparing and submitting applications for registration
Providing you with copies of the completed documents
We charge a fixed fee for carrying out the work detailed above and you will be provided with a quotation at the outset of the matter, prior to us undertaking any work for you. We provide separate fixed fees for preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney for individuals and couples.
If we are undertaking other work for you at the same time, such as preparing your Will(s) we can provide a reduction to the fixed fees for preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney.
What is an Ordinary Power of Attorney?
You can grant someone ordinary power of attorney if you would like them to make decisions about your financial affairs on your behalf on a short-term basis.
This grants fewer powers to your attorney and can be suitable if you are temporarily unable to make decisions, for example if you are in hospital or out of the country.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is an older version of a Lasting Power of Attorney. EPAs were replaced in October 2007, but if you made and signed an EPA before this date it will still be valid and grants your nominated attorney the power to make decisions relating to property and financial affairs on your behalf.
Validity and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney
You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney only if you have the mental capacity to do so. If there is any doubt, we would have to get a doctor’s certificate. We also need to make sure that you have not been coerced or put under any pressure to create it.
Once the Lasting Power of Attorney is created, it must be registered with the OPG before the attorneys can use it. The registration process on average takes 8 to 10 weeks. The OPG registration fee is £82 for each Lasting Power of Attorney you put in place. You may be eligible for a reduction of fees or may not pay any fees at all, if you receive certain benefits.
If you have an older, Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), it remains valid, but your attorneys need to register it with the OPG if they think you are becoming or have become mentally incapable. EPAs only cover financial affairs. Therefore, if you wish to give authority over your health or welfare you must make a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
What if you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place?
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney in place, and lack capacity to manage your own financial affairs, your next-of-kin will have to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a “Deputy” to make decisions on your behalf. This process takes at least six months to complete, even in a straightforward case.
How our Power of Attorney solicitors can help
Nominating an attorney to act on your behalf on either a short or long-term basis is a decision that should be made with careful consideration and full knowledge of the implications.
In addition, there is standard wording that must be used when nominating your attorney. For these reasons we recommend getting in touch with a knowledgeable legal expert who can walk you through your options and help you produce a valid document granting Ordinary or Lasting Power of Attorney.
Our team of power of attorney solicitors are experienced in helping clients tailor grants to suit their needs. We can offer valuable advice on who to nominate and what powers to grant them and can assist you in filling out the necessary forms correctly to ensure no problems arise at a later date. We offer a considerate and expert service throughout the nomination process and beyond.
Our team have a wide range of experience and our previous matters including:
Preparing Lasting Powers of Attorneys with carefully drafted bespoke clauses to ensure clients wishes are expressed clearly and, where appropriate, are binding upon the attorneys.
Meeting with clients who had an immediate need for the use of a power of attorney and advised them to have both Ordinary Power of Attorney and Lasting Power of Attorney drawn up.
Advising clients who had an Enduring Power of Attorney in place and wished to discuss whether they should make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Cost-effective Power of Attorney solicitors
Our services are cost-effective and competitive, and we will always give you a clear indication of our charges. We are happy to provide one-off advice at certain points of the legal process or on particular areas of concern as they arise.
One of our experienced power of attorney solicitors will have an initial consultation with you, free of charge, to discuss your situation in more detail. Once we understand your circumstances better, we can provide you with a clearer understanding of how we can help you.
In addition to office meetings, we also offer virtual meetings via telephone or video conferencing software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams and can assist you wherever you are based.
Call us 24/7 on 0800 086 2929
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Chartered Legal Executive
“Meg Wilton has guided us through the process of amending our wills, changing the way my wife and I own our home and setting up new powers of attorney in the most professional, helpful and friendly way. We are grateful to her and to Elite Law Solicitors. We shall recommend you to our friends.”
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