Managing your financial and legal affairs
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which appoints someone who can manage your financial and legal affairs if you were to find it difficult or impossible to do so yourself.
They are inexpensive to set up and will give you peace of mind of knowing that should the worst happen, your affairs will be properly looked after by someone you trust.
Specific Powers of Attorney
An attorney(s) can help with the following:
- Operate your bank accounts
- Claim pensions and benefits
- Make tax returns
- Pay your household expenses
- Buy, lease or sell property
- Pay for private medical care and residential care costs
You can also assign a Personal Welfare Attorney to be used if you lose capacity to make your own decisions, who can deal with your social and healthcare needs and make decisions such as where you live.
There are certain safeguards when creating a Power of Attorney:
- You have to make the Lasting Power of Attorney yourself before you lose mental capacity – no one can make it for you
- Your Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered before it can be used
- This registration process offers safeguards because certain people have the right to object
- Your attorney(s) must follow a Code of Practice and if they do not they can be found guilty of a criminal offence
- The Office of the Public Guardian has powers to investigate any abuses of duty by an attorney
- You can place restrictions about what you want your attorney to do.
Many people prefer a face to face consultation to prepare their Power of Attorney, however we recognise that people don’t always need full support. Our Fixed Fee Lasting Power of Attorney (personal welfare) and Lasting Power of Attorney (property & affairs) services offer choices according to what you can afford and how much support you would like.
Power of Attorney Disputes
We can also assist if there is a dispute over a Power of Attorney, for example if they are not acting in the best interests of the person they represent. In these cases, attorneys can be investigated by the Office of the Public Guardian and may be removed.
If you are the subject of an investigation, it is vital to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Nelsons has a specialist team who can assist you in such circumstances and includes members of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).