A power of attorney is a legal document that gives a person(s), whom you have chosen, the right to act on your behalf and make decisions in your best interest, in the event you are incapacitated either physically or mentally.
The ordinary power of attorney document (OPA) or lasting power of attorney document (LPA) will enable the chosen person(s) to make decisions concerning either ‘Property and Financial’ matters or your ‘Health and Welfare’. A power of attorney document does not need to be used immediately when issued, and has no set timeframe for expiration (the only caveat being that their validity ceases to exist as soon as the ‘principal’ person dies) – this means they can be used at any time in the future, as and when it is required.
Why is a Power of Attorney so Important?
A power of attorney document is vitally important to avoid any confusion, issues and delays if you are unable to handle your own affairs.
In this instance family, friends or work colleagues would be left dealing with complex legal processes in order to obtain the right, without your previous consent, to manage your financial or personal business. It is therefore important to have a power of attorney created and a trusted person(s) ready to pick up your affairs and communicate on your behalf with organisations such as banks, solicitors, local councils, creditors or health service providers.
The Benefits of Writing a Power of Attorney with Sarah Waddington Solicitors
One of the main benefits of using power of attorney solicitor services is the ability to create a customised power of attorney (OPA or LPA) for your own personal set of circumstances.
There are generic packages which can be bought over the internet, but these do not allow you to insert your own tailored directive advice, which can then leave your wishes open to interpretation and confusion.
By choosing to create your OPA or LPA with Sarah Waddington Solicitors you will be able to take advantage of both our legal expertise and overall knowledge on this topic. This will enable you to rest in the comfort and security that your personal affairs will be taken care of should you be unable to carry these out.
What is a Mirror Power of Attorney?
A Mirror Power of Attorney is a document which gives either you or your partner the ability of appointing each other to deal with one another’s ‘Property and Financial’ matters, or ‘Health and Welfare’ issues, should either of you unfortunately lose the capacity to do so.
Therefore, creating a Mirror Power of Attorney can provide you with the security and peace of mind that the management of your affairs will be easily transferred to a partner as and when needed. In England and Wales this is important as there is no automatic legal right for your partner, spouse or child to take control of your affairs, if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions.
How Much Does a Power of Attorney cost?
A Power of Attorney costs from £225 +VAT (£270 including VAT).
A Mirror Lasting Power of Attorney (for two people) this starts from £375 +VAT (£450 including VAT).
Note: In England and Wales a power of attorney document must first be registered with The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used. As part of our Power of Attorney Service we can oversee this process and register your document for you – the fee for this is £82 per registration. This fee is in addition to our fee for the initial creation of the Power of Attorney document.
Additional certified copies of a Power of Attorney document can also be provided at an additional cost.
It is worth noting this service is means tested, so if you are in receipts of benefits, i.e. income support there can be reductions available of up to 50%.
Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPA) for Sole Traders & SME Business Owners
It is just as important to plan ahead and cover your business affairs, as it is your personal affairs. If you were sick or out of the country have you considered who would authorise salary payments, pay creditors or sign off commercial decisions?
Unless your business was created as partnership or you are a company director then you will need to make adequate provision as partnerships or directors should have provisions for these circumstances listed in the ‘terms of the partnership agreement’ or ‘the articles of association’ (it is advisable to check).
However, if you are a sole trader or limited company then it is important to have an LPA in place. This will avoid the lengthy and costly process of appointing a deputy to act on your behalf, as has no guarantee of success and can leave your business open to considerable risk.
What Are the Different Types of Power of Attorney?
In England and Wales there are two main types of Power of Attorney currently in operation:
- Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
This option will be required if you need to handle the property and financial affairs or health and welfare issues of someone that has become incapacitated mentally.
- Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA)
This option will cover your requirements if you need someone to look after your financial affairs for a certain period of time. For example, if you become physically incapacitated or are out of the country for a set amount of time. However, this option can't be used if your mental capacity is to be impeded in any way.
Do You Need A Lawyer to get A Power of Attorney?
Setting up a power of attorney is not a decision to take lightly, it is one which needs considerable consideration and one which has many legal implications. With this in mind it is advisable to seek the advice of a power of attorney solicitor to help you navigate through the administrative side of the process and to discuss with you the types of decisions your power of attorney(s) will have to make.
What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Power of Attorney?
The over-riding duties and responsibilities should be focused on the best interest of the individual. Any decisions which a power of attorney makes need to take into the account the best possible outcome for the individual in question and ensure decisions are made without any personal agenda or bias involved – this action is referred to as ‘fiduciary’.
Contact Sarah Waddington Solicitors for Power of Attorney Advice
Speaking to a solicitor specialising in Powers of Attorney gives you the guidance, security and reassurance that your arrangement is in your best possible interests, and that you will be protected should the worst happen.
Contact us today to discuss your situation with one of our specialist power of attorney solicitors. It’s your life, so make sure that you’re in control of it with a Lasting Power of Attorney.