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A Power of Attorney involves someone else (the ‘attorney’) being appointed to make decisions or act on your behalf either because you no longer want to make these decisions or because you are unable to make such decisions for yourself and fully understand the consequences. Currently there are three different kinds of Power of Attorney:
● Ordinary Power of Attorney● Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)● Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
An Ordinary Power of Attorney is suitable if you have a holiday coming up or a hospital stay and you require temporary cover. This type of Power of Attorney is only available while you have mental capacity. If you do not have mental capacity then there are other types of Power of Attorney that will assist you.
It is also possible to place restrictions as to what areas your attorney will have power to make decisions over. For example, it can be stipulated that your attorney deals only with your bank account but not with your house.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is appropriate in situations when you decide that you no longer want to make decisions for yourself or if you no longer have capacity to make decisions for yourself and understand the consequences.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be divided into two kinds; Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, and Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney gives your attorney the power to make decisions concerning medical care, life-sustaining treatment and your day-to-day routine such as washing, dressing and eating. It is only available when you no longer have the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney gives your attorney the power to make decisions about money and property including your bank account, selling your home and payment of bills. This can come into effect as soon it is registered and you give permission for it to be used. This form of Lasting Power of Attorney can be used even if you still have the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
An Enduring Power of Attorney was replaced by the Lasting Power of Attorney. They are still valid if they were created before 01 October 2007 and will come into effect if you lose mental capacity and will therefore allow your attorney to make decisions on your behalf.
The most important thing to consider when selecting an attorney is trust. Your attorney is potentially going to be making some big decisions regarding important aspects of your life such as your home and your finances. You are permitted to appoint more than person as an attorney and a common route many people follow is appointing a family member with professional such as a solicitor. This pairs someone who understands the process thoroughly with someone who knows and understands you and who would be able to make decisions in a similar manner to you.
A living will gives you the opportunity to express your wishes in a document regarding receiving medical treatment should you need that treatment at time you are unable to make or express the decision yourself. A living will is also known as an ‘advance decision’.
Living wills are used commonly in situations where a person has become terminally ill or is about to undergo a risky medical procedure. For example, it gives you the opportunity to refuse life support should your health deteriorate. A living will can only be relied upon while the person to whom it relates is alive, it cannot be used to distribute your estate when you die.
If you want to find out more about powers of attorney and living wills then our team of experts at Family Law Birmingham are here to help you. We have extensive experience in handling powers of attorney and providing top legal advice regarding living wills. At Family Law Birmingham we work tirelessly to get to know you and understand your circumstances. Our advice is tailored specifically to the needs of you and your family.
To speak with our team of expert solicitors today call us on 0121 817 2076 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will soon be in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.
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