Very few of us would like to think that we are going to lose our mental capacity and be unable to make crucial decisions when we need to. However, sadly, that will be the case for some people. Assigning lasting powers of attorney can remove elements of the stress and worry.

What exactly does 'lasting power of attorney' mean?

Lasting power of attorney is a legal document the allows you to pass authority to a nominated person, or persons, which gives them the recognised right to make decisions on your behalf. Oratto can put you in contact with a member solicitor who will advise you on your specific situation rapidly. There are many things to consider when drafting such a document and our member solicitors are experts in this field.

There are two types of lasting power of attorney which can be conferred:

  • Health and welfare – this covers decisions about all aspects of personal welfare. For example, where you should live and who should care for you.
  • Property and financial affairs – this covers all decisions about money issues. From selling or buying property, to investing money, or organising payment of bills.

Conferring lasting powers of attorney does not mean that you relinquish control over your personal affairs. With property and financial affairs you can elect whether this is brought into force before, or only once you have lost, mental capacity. For health and welfare powers, they can only be used once the person has lost the mental capacity to make decisions.

How can I protect myself against something I might not want to happen?

The law provides this protection. Firstly, lasting power of attorney must be organised whilst you still have full mental capacity. It's best to do this as a precautionary measure early on. You can also put stipulations in place; such as the need for medical certification to verify the loss of mental capacity before the power of attorney can be invoked.

Why are lasting powers of attorney a good idea to have?

Many older people are targeted by unscrupulous cold callers who take advantage of their mental confusion to inveigle large sums of money from them. Having a lasting power of attorney in place, who can take control of any credit or debit cards, can stop this from happening.

Is it difficult to organise?

Oratto member lawyers will be able to help you with this process, but it is relatively simple. You will need to complete a lasting power of attorney form, which is free, and then register it with the Office of the Public Guardian. You will also need an independent, professional person to certify that you understand what you have signed and that you did so willingly. Your Oratto member solicitor will be able to do this for you.

There are several reasons why assigning lasting power of attorney over your affairs might be a good idea, but it is important to seek the right legal advice. Oratto can connect you instantly with a lawyer who has the experience to explain your position and put the necessary framework in place. We can organise solid, practical advice about how you can protect yourself, or others, if you should lose mental capacity.

Contact Oratto today for sound, logical advice from our member solicitors on lasting powers of attorney.