Powers of Attorney

What is a Powers of Attorney?

There are two types of Power (1) a General power of attorney and (2) a Lasting power of attorney.

The purpose of a general power of attorney is to grant somebody of your choosing the authority to deal with your financial affairs for a temporary basis only.  A general power of attorney would normally cost in the region of £100 plus Vat.

In respect of Lasting powers of attorney, there are two types as follows:

Property and Financial

This document is signed by you appointing someone else that you trust as your “Attorney” to manage your financial affairs when you can’t, either due to physical or mental incapacity. Your Attorney can use the Power to pay your bills, manage your income and generally look after your money and property for you. Your Attorney can also make gifts on your behalf (such as birthday or Christmas gifts to your family or to your favourite charities)

Health and Welfare

This is also a document that you sign appointing someone that you trust as your “Attorney”, but this time it is to make decisions about your health care and welfare when you can’t, either due to physical or mental incapacity. Your Attorney can use the Power to pay make decisions about the kind of medical treatment that you should receive when you are not in a position to make those decisions for yourself.

I don’t need one of these until I’m senile then, Do I?

Too late – if you lack mental capacity, your family would have to apply to the Court for someone (a “Receiver”) to be appointed to look after your property and finances. This can be a lengthy and costly business, and you would have no say in the choice of Receiver. Better to decide for yourself who that someone should be, what they should be able to do for you and when, and ensure that your family avoids all the costs and complexities of the Receivership process.

Is it complicated and expensive?

No – the documents are straightforward, although there are a number of issues you would need to decide, such as whom to appoint as your Attorney (you can appoint more than one person if you wish) whether to restrict the Power to a particular set of assets or duties, and when it should come into effect. As for the cost, the fee for completing a Lasting Power of Attorney is unlikely to exceed £300 plus vat per Power of Attorney document.  Assuming you wanted the Property and Financial and Health and Welfare documents then the fee would be £600 plus VAT. Please note that in addition there is a court fee that needs to be paid.

 

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