“Who will manage your affairs if you are unable to do so?”
Appointing someone to run your affairs either for an anticipated event (such as if you are travelling abroad for prolonged periods or if you are likely to be hospitalised for any length of time) or in case you lose the mental capability to look after yourself can help to avoid difficulties arising.
If you lose your mental capacity and become unable to manage your affairs, the Court of Protection will appoint someone on your behalf. That person, your Deputy, might be a family member or friend, your solicitor or a social worker or even a court official. You will have no say in deciding who that person might be and until the court has made its appointment no-one will be able to keep your affairs in order.
General Power of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney is a legal instrument by which someone (“the Donor”) gives someone they trust (“the Attorney”) power to make decisions and carry out transactions on the Donors behalf. If the Donor loses his/her mental faculties, the General Power of Attorney cannot be used.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal instrument by which someone (“the Donor”) gives someone they trust (“the Attorney”) power to make decisions and carry out transactions on the Donors behalf, in the future, if he/she can no longer make decisions personally. A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian but, provided it has been registered, it can still be used even if the Donor loses his/her mental capacity.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney; the Property and Affairs LPA and the Health and Welfare LPA.
The Property and Affairs LPA allows the Attorney to manage the Donors property and finances.
The Health and Welfare LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions about the Donors personal welfare, including healthcare, if the Donor loses mental capacity and is unable to make decisions.
In some circumstances, (for example, if you don’t own your own property or have large sums in the bank but do receive benefits) a Deputyship or Power of Attorney may not be needed.
Instead, you might appoint someone you trust (“the Appointee”) to look after your benefit payments for you. This is usually arranged directly with the benefit provider (often the Department for Works and Pensions).