When assigning a lasting power of attorney, it’s important that both you and your representative are clear on what decisions they can and cannot make on your behalf.
More people than ever are now opting to appoint a trusted person as their power of attorney, to protect their finances and/or health should they lose the mental capacity to make important decisions themselves (or need help doing so) in the future.
A lasting power of attorney is usually appointed whilst a person is still able to make their own decisions as a precaution for the future.
Many people choose to appoint a power of attorney because it gives them peace of mind that someone that they trust will be taking care of their affairs should they lose the ability to do so themselves.
Different types of lasting power of attorney
It’s important to note that there are different types of lasting power of attorney; those that look after finances and property, and those that take care of your health and welfare. For many people, these will be one and the same person, but others may wish to assign a different person to each.
Financial and property POA
What can they do?
- Sell, buy and rent out property
- Manage bank and building society accounts
- Pay bills and buy items required
- Claim benefits, tax credits and pensions
- Look after your tax affairs
- Look after your debts
- Manage legal proceedings
What restrictions are there?
- Use their position for personal gain
- Make large financial gifts
- Pay themselves a fee (unless authorised)
- Mix your finances with theirs
- Tax planning (without authority)
Health and welfare POA
What can they do?
- Make decisions about your daily routine
- Make decisions about your medical care and sign medical consent forms
- Decide where you live
- Make decisions about life sustaining treatment
What can’t they do?
- Make decisions that restrict your freedom
- Make decisions if a living will has been made
Your power of attorney’s responsibilities
If you only wish your power of attorney to be able to make decisions about certain things, you should speak to your solicitor and make sure that the details of what your appointed person should and shouldn’t be given authority to deal with are drawn up very carefully.
As a rule of thumb, your power of attorney should always consider what is in your best interests and what you would want if you were making your own decisions. If It is possible for you to make all or some of a decision by yourself, then it is your lasting power of attorney’s responsibility to make sure that you are able to do so.
Your power of attorney will not be able to start making decisions on your behalf until they have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
To find out more about the role of a power of attorney and how to register one, give our experts at Mark Reynolds Solicitors a call on 0800 002 9577.