According to English law, anyone with mental capacity can grant a power of attorney. So, what exactly is a power of attorney and how does the authorisation work for legal matters.
Note: The person who appoints an attorney is the 'donor'. Whereas, the 'attorney' is the person appointed to act on behalf of the donor.
UK POA GUIDE: In simple terms, it is a written authorization to represent someone else or act on their behalf.
As a rule, setting up a power of attorney relates to legal matters, such as in business or private affairs.
An Example: A solicitor might advise you to set up a power of attorney to handle someone's affairs (e.g. your parents). The solicitor may have been specific and told you to get a lasting power of attorney.
But, a friend at work told you that they already set up an enduring power of attorney. Confused?
There are important differences between an enduring power of attorney (EPA) and a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
Being appointed as an EPA means you can make, or help to make, decisions for another person about money and property. That said, you must arrive at any decision having the donor's best interests in mind.
You can only use EPAs made and signed before the 1st of October 2007 in the United Kingdom. From that date, all donors have had to make an LPA (lasting power of attorney) instead.
In fact, the lasting power of attorney replaced an enduring power of attorney in October 2007. Even so, any EPA signed before then will remain valid and they can still be registered.
Flexibility is the key advantage of the updated lasting power of attorney. It provides the donor (the person setting up the LPA) with two options. You can take out a property and financial affairs attorney, use a health and welfare attorney, or both!
EPAs can make, or help to make, decisions about a donor's property and money. The section explains the duties and responsibilities of an enduring power of attorney (EPA).
Acting as an attorney for someone is an important commitment and obligation. The help guide explains the duties and responsibilities of a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
There are several reasons to authorise a signed power of attorney (LPA) to another person. Find out how to make and register a lasting power of attorney for use in the United Kingdom.
Notified parties can object to the registration of a power of attorney. Discover how to object to registration of a lasting or enduring power of attorney and which forms to use.
You can report a concern about an attorney or a deputy to the Office of the Public Guardian. In fact, the OPG deals with cases that involve the misuse of money or 'badly' made decisions.
You can apply to search the OPG registers to check if someone has an attorney acting on their behalf. You would need to use a specific form but the service is free.
Power of Attorney Guidelines for the United Kingdom