A power of attorney is a legal authority which you give to somebody to deal with your financial and property affairs.
A power of attorney is very useful if you are concerned about what will happen if you become ill and cannot deal with your money or your property yourself. By signing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) you can arrange for one of your family or a trusted friend or professional adviser to look after your affairs for you.
An LPA has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it it can be used. The registration process takes about two months, so it is not possible to draw up an LPA and use it immediately.
You can only sign an LPA if you understand what you are doing at the time you sign it. If you already have Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia it is often possible for you sign an LPA while you are in the early stages of the illness. If your illness is more advanced signing an LPA may no longer be possible. Your family would then have to apply to the Court of Protection for somebody to be appointed as your Deputy to look after your financial and property affairs. A Deputy is an attorney appointed by the Court. Applying to the Court of Protection is more expensive than signing an LPA while you are well enough to do so.
It is therefore important to plan ahead.
For further information and advice please contact our City Centre office.