A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if your're no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.
There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf. It could be a temporary situation: for example, if you're in hospital and need help with everyday tasks such as paying bills or you may need to make longer-term plans if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia and you may lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.
There are different types of power of attorney:
Ordinary power of attorney
This covers decisions about your financial affairs and is valid while you have mental capacity. It is suitable if you need cover for a temporary period - a hospital stay or holiday.
Unlike an LPA, there is no need to register an Ordinary Power of Attorney – once it is signed by the individual (the signature must be witnessed) it is live and ready for use meaning that it is an almost immediate solution.
Lasting power of attorney (LPA)
An LPA appoints someone you trust to act as your Attorney to covers decisions about your property & financial affairs, or your health and welfare. It must be made whilst you still have your mental capacity and, if registered, it comes into effect if you lose mental capacity, or if you no longer want to make decisions for yourself. Typically, you would set up an LPA if you want to make sure you're covered in the future if you lose your mental capacity and cannot make your own decisions or manage your affairs without assistance.
Enduring power of attorney (EPA)
EPAs were replaced by LPAs in October 2007. It is no longer possible to make an EPA. However, if you made and signed an EPA before 1 October 2007, it should still be valid. An EPA covers decisions about your property and financial affairs, and it comes into effect when registered if you lose mental capacity, or if you want someone to act on your behalf. It does not cover decisions about your health & welfare. If you have an EPA, you may want to consider making an LPA for Health & Welfare too.
There is further advice in this section about the different types of Power of Attorney but if you require further guidance about Powers of Attorney please let us know.