You may have heard the term “power of attorney” used in the news or on TV shows. In very basic terms, it means that someone is in charge of making your legal decisions while you are not able to. Knowing why you might need to do this and having the right representative in place is a major decision and one that is very important that you get right.

Why would I need it?
One potential scenario would be that you are running a company. It is very successful, and you are responsible for hundreds of employees. One day you are in a serious accident, meaning that you are unable to work. This means that you would need someone in place to take care of any potential legal issues or decisions while you are recovering, and that representative would be the one with power of attorney.

There are different types to cover different scenarios- Ordinary is for temporary situations where you still have the ability to make decisions (OPA), while lasting (LPA) would be if your mental capacity was affected and you needed someone to make decisions for you (this replaces enduring power, however, this is still valid for any legal forms signed before 1st October 2007.)

It is also possible to place limits on that power – for example, you may want someone to run your business on your behalf, but you may say that you do not want them selling your house. With LPAs, you can also have people make decisions on your behalf regarding healthcare as well as financial issues, including where you live, what kind of medical care you should receive, diet, appropriate contact with certain people and whether or not certain social activities are appropriate.

How do I set it up?
There are readily available forms that allow you to apply for an OPA or LPA, though it is recommended you seek legal advice in order to ensure that the forms are properly worded. You can fill these out yourself or get someone else to do it.

In the case of an LPA, it is important that is signed by a certificate provider. This certifies that this has been checked and that they are satisfied that you are not agreeing to the LPA under pressure. You then need to pay a fee (though you may be exempt if you are on a low income or receive certain kinds of benefits) and have it registered, a process that typically takes about nine weeks to finalise.

Want to know more?
If you are considering getting a representative with power of attorney or are looking to represent someone yourself, then you should seek legal advice. At Larcomes we can provide the guidance you need so that everything can be handled properly, and you can get the peace of mind you deserve. For more information or to discuss your personal circumstances, please contact us today and we will be happy to help to find the ideal legal solution for you.