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Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document which lets you appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf.
Powers of Attorney are often used in commercial transactions where a document needs to be signed while one of the parties is away on holiday or business abroad. A specialised form is the Lasting Power of Attorney, used when someone is unable to make decisions for themselves due to mental impairment, an increasing common occurrence among the elderly.
There are two types of Lasting Power, one for property and finance which gives the Attorney power to act in housing and other property matters together with money and financial transactions. The other is for health and welfare which gives the Attorney power to act in regard to consent for medical treatment and for example the choice of accommodation.
Since the giver of a Lasting Power of Attorney must understand its meaning and effect when signing to set it up, the rules governing the creation of a Lasting Power of Attorney are strict.
Attorneys are bound by a code of practice and if they fall short can face dismissal and sanctions imposed by the Court of Protection which has overarching jurisdiction.
Lasting Powers of Attorney were introduced in 2007. Previously there were Enduring Powers of Attorney. Provided they were properly created the Enduring Powers remain valid and also enable the Attorney to make decisions.
Head of Tax Planning, Wills & Probate