We all have loved ones who we care about and it can be difficult to see them struggle to make decisions on their own. If you’ve got a friend or family member who is finding it difficult to manage their affairs, either due to old age or illness, then naturally you’ll want to do what you can to help. Appointing powers of attorney is one way to ensure your loved one’s assets are protected and they get the help and support they need.

If you have no experience with powers of attorney then you might be nervous about what to expect. Perhaps you’ve recently been appointed power of attorney, or you’re looking to arrange this process for a friend or relative. Whatever your situation, if you’d like to know more about what power of attorney is and why it’s important, read on.

What is power of attorney?

Power of attorney (also known as letter of attorney) is the written authorization for one person to act on another’s behalf in private affairs, business or another legal matter (such as medical decisions). The person with lasting power of attorney (the name of the legal document) can make decisions on another’s behalf or help them to make them together. You must be over the age of 18 and in sound mind when appointing someone to be your power of attorney.

Many people plan ahead and choose a close relative or trusted friend as their power of attorney before they lose mental capacity. There are two types of lasting power of attorney (LPA), health and welfare or property and financial affairs. You can choose either one type or both.

How do I appoint a lasting power of attorney?

As mentioned, you’ll need to be over the age of 18 and in sound mind (the mental capacity to make your own decisions). First you’ll need to choose who you’d like to appoint (you can have more than one person). You’ll need to fill out some government forms which you can find here, and then register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. Many people hire a professional solicitor to help them navigate the process and ensure they’re clear about what’s happening each step of the way.

Why is LPA important?

If an individual is struggling to manage decisions on their own, then their assets or property may be left vulnerable, or they make decisions that aren’t in their best interests. A power of attorney can ensure that an individual’s property and finances are protected and make sure they keep up with outgoings like bills.

LPA also ensures a person remains well looked after if they can no longer look after themselves. This includes things like decisions for medical treatment or moving the individual into a care home if it’s in their best interests.

If you need professional help with the powers of attorney process, get in touch with the experts at Richards & Lewis. We’ll help guide you through each step and ensure the best outcome for you and your loved ones. To remove the stress and ensure you have the tools you need to handle the role of power of attorney, give us a call today or visit our website.