Power of Attorney Solicitors
Our experienced team provide a personalised approach, always acting in your best interests
There are various types of power of attorney documents, consisting of lasting powers of attorney, general powers of attorney and enduring powers of attorney. Ultimately, a power of attorney is a legal document which is signed by a person (the donor), that grants a named individual/individuals/trust corporation (the attorney/s) to act on your behalf. As a donor, you should appoint people you trust as they will be able to make decisions on your behalf and act in relation to your property and finances and/or health and welfare decisions.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
There are two types of LPAs, as follows;
Property and Affairs LPA
A property and financial affairs LPA can name attorneys to act on your behalf in relation to your property and finances. This means they can help with matters such as paying bills, dealing with house insurance, buying and selling property and accessing your bank accounts and savings. As long as you have mental capacity, your attorneys would be able to use the LPA document with your consent to help you. In the event you were to lose mental capacity they would be able to support you as far as possible with managing your finances and property affairs, and ultimately take over if you were ever completely incapacitated.
Health and Welfare LPA
If you sign a Health and Welfare LPA, this means your attorneys can make decisions on your behalf about your health and personal welfare. This could involve decisions about your medication and care, surgery and where you live, and ultimately, if you give them such permission, they can deal with issues relating to life sustaining treatment on your behalf. This document can be used only if you have lost mental capacity and not before.
In order to make an LPA, the donor must have sufficient mental capacity to do so. Once the document has been signed by all involved, it must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. We believe in most cases it is a good idea to do this straightaway to activate the LPA, therefore we would deal with this on your behalf as part of our package of work for you.
Where an individual loses mental capacity and they have not made a power of attorney, other people may need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a deputy in order to make decisions on your behalf. This is a more costly and time consuming process during a period when you need help, and it can add to an already stressful time for your relatives, friends and carers. You would also lose control, as the court would appoint someone you may not have chosen yourself. Therefore it is preferable to have considered making an LPA to prevent this situation from arising.
To make sure you are protected in the future, contact our team to ensure that a suitable LPA is in place.
Watch our simple animation below to learn more about Lasting Powers of Attorney.For information on our pricing for LPAs take a look at our LPA Charging Structure.
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA)
An EPA is an older style of power of attorney which were made before LPAs were introduced to replace them, on 30 October 2007. EPAs which were validly prepared and signed before then remain valid, but no new EPAs can be made. EPAs deal only with property and financial affairs and have no similar arrangement in place to deal with health and welfare decisions. EPAs can be used without being registered, where the donor has mental capacity. However, as soon as the attorneys believe the donor is, or is becoming, mentally incapable the EPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. We can deal with the registration of an EPA and guide the attorneys through the process.
It is not possible to amend or update any existing EPA, so if you wish to make any changes to it, you will need to sign a new LPA. Even if you are happy with your EPA, it is advisable to make a Health and Welfare LPA to sit alongside it.
For any queries about EPAs, please get in touch with our experienced team.
General Powers of Attorney
An ‘ordinary’ or ‘general’ power of attorney is a legal document in which the donor gives the attorney the right to help them make decisions, or take decisions on their behalf. It can can only be used if the donor has mental capacity. A general power of attorney is useful when it becomes temporarily difficult for the donor to manage their affairs, for example because they’re:
- recovering from an injury
- travelling abroad
The donor can limit the attorney’s powers under a general power of attorney, for example, they can authorise them to only deal with their financial affairs. The donor can still make decisions for themselves if they want to. A general power of attorney ends if the donor either cancels it using a deed of revocation or loses mental capacity. For this reason, it is not a good idea to rely upon this as a long term option and instead an LPA should be put into place. We sometimes advise clients to sign a general power of attorney at the same time as an LPA as this tides them over during the registration of the LPA, which can take up to four months.
Why choose Brachers?
Our experienced team always treat each clients’ needs with a personal approach and ensure that the advice given has their best interests at heart. We are specialists in acting on behalf of elderly and vulnerable clients and their families and will always deliver clear advice, avoiding legal jargon, to ensure that all our clients understand the options available to them.
We strive to provide the best added value service possible, whether that is out-of-hours phone calls when you need support, or home visits to talk through matters face-to-face in a familiar and comfortable environment.
Recognition of our expertise
Partner Mary Rimmer, who leads our experienced powers of attorney team, is widely recognised as an expert in later life planning and acting for elderly and vulnerable clients and their families. Mary is highlighted in The Legal 500 2022 guide as a ‘Key Lawyer’ and ‘Next Generation Partner’ in the areas of Charities and Not-for-profit.
Mary dedicates much of her time supporting the Alzheimer’s Society, as a volunteer, a Dementia Friends Ambassador and an active member of the Dementia Friendly Community for both Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. Her commitment to raising awareness of people living with dementia led to Mary becoming a finalist in the ‘Emma Kent Award for Outstanding Contribution’ category in the Dementia Friendly Kent Awards 2019.
In 2022, Mary’s passion for supporting charities was commended, with her win of the ‘Contribution to the Community Award’ at the Kent Law Society Awards. The award recognises Mary’s dedication to the charity sector, including her position as trustee of Spadework and Maidstone Mencap Charitable Trust.
Mary is also a member of the professional bodies and groups below and has received a merit in the Step Advanced Certificate in Advising Vulnerable Clients.
- Solicitors for the Elderly
- STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners)
- The STEP Mental Capacity Special Interest Group
- The STEP Charities Special Interest Group
- The Court of Protection Practitioners’ Group (CoPPA)
- The Charity Law Association.
Our Private Client team is ranked consistently in the top guides to law firms, achieving the top tier in the Personal Tax and Probate category in The Legal 500. The team are regularly recognised in numerous prestigious industry awards, including winning ‘Best Probate Law Firm – London and the South East’ at the UK Probate Research Awards 2021 and ‘Private Client Team of the Year’ at the British Wills and Probate Awards 2020.
Find out more about our awards, accreditations and partnerships that make us stand out from the rest.
Get in touch today
For more information or to get in touch you can book a free 15 minute online appointment with one of our team. Alternatively, start your estate planning journey today with our online tool and we will then be able to have a more informed discussion with you at your first meeting with us.
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The Legal 500
Brachers know their subject, are very competent and, above all, very diplomatic. These attributes have been so important during the present lock down when the ‘working from home’ handicap could have spoiled progress – but it didn’t.
Brachers are very community-minded and are always approachable and easy to communicate with.
Michael was very informative at all times. Nothing was too much trouble and the advice I was given was excellent.
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