Lasting and General Powers of Attorney

Make sure your future is protected.

If you are concerned about how your life wishes are to be carried out and important decisions concerning your wealth and health are made when you are not in a position to do so then you should consider granting power of attorney to someone who has your best interests at heart.

Here at Cohen Cramer we have the expertise and experience to make sure that your future well-being is protected and in safe hands.

Contact the probate team at Cohen Cramer for clear, sensitive, professional advice:

Powers of Attorney can be in a  Lasting or General format.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which a person over the age of 18 years and with full mental capacity can make. The person making the document is called the ‘donor’.  The donor appoints another person as their ‘attorney’ giving them power to make decisions about their property and finance and/or health and welfare.  Most donors put a condition in the document stating that the attorney cannot act for them at all until the donor has been assessed as mentally incapable by at least one member of the medical profession. The Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered before it can be used and upon registration with the Court of Protection, the attorney can begin making those decisions (subject of course to any restrictions or conditions which the donor has included in the power).

What is a General Power of Attorney?

This type of power is simpler than making a Lasting Powers of Attorney but the main difference is that a General Power of Attorney becomes invalid and cannot be used by your attorney the moment you lose mental capacity  whereas Lasting Powers of Attorney continue to be valid after you have lost capacity.   People sometimes make General Powers of Attorney to deal with one very specific thing and for a specific reason. A common example for making a General Power of Attorney is to deal with the sale of a property because the person making the power spends a lot of time abroad and is unable to deal with things without the help of a trusted attorney who can sign documents for them while they are away.  As mentioned above, owners of businesses can find themselves needing to make a General Power of Attorney from time to time. Please contact one of our specialist advisers to discuss a fixed fee package we may be able to offer you with regards to a Lasting and General Power of Attorney together with a complimentary Will.

Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney now?

It is important to make a Lasting Power of Attorney whilst you are still capable.  The Lasting Power of Attorney document gives you some degree of control at a time when you are quite capable of deciding which person (or persons) you would want to ‘step in your shoes’ if the worst happened and you lost the capacity to make your own decisions.  Loss of capacity can happen for a number of reasons – for example: senile dementia; Alzheimer’s Disease; stroke or brain injury.

For those of you who own a  business, it is crucial to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place so that your wishes can be carried out should you no longer have the capacity to deal with the running of the business – you can’t just leave things to chance and expect your family/co-owners/directors to have the legal right to deal with things on your behalf. You may have provisions in your Partnership Agreements or Shareholder Agreements but these should coincide with a Lasting Power of Attorney. Remember, you can appoint more than one Attorney and for example you may appoint your spouse to deal with your personal finances and your business partner to deal with the ongoing running of the business.

No matter who you are, making a Lasting Power of Attorney now will give the you the ability to chose who you want to deal with your affairs providing certainty instead of being a hostage to fortune.

What ‘powers’ can I give my chosen Attorney?

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney.  One type deals with property and finances, so in this one you could ask that your attorney pays your household bills, pays your employees wages, collects your pension or sells your house (for example, to pay for nursing/residential care home fees).  The advantage with a Lasting Power of Attorney is that you can make multiple ones, assigning different attorneys to different functions and so business and personal affairs can be separated. Again if you have several businesses, you can make a Lasting Power of Attorney for each business.

The other type deals with issues regarding your health and welfare so you could ask your attorney to refuse consent to certain types of medical treatment on your behalf, or you could give your attorney guidance about which particular care home you would prefer if you ever needed to go into such care.   You do not have to have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney if you wish  you could just have one for  health and welfare.

If you believe you need an LPA or GPA drafting and registering with the Court of Protection it is better to act as soon as possible. 

Contact the team at Cohen Cramer for clear, sensitive, professional advice:

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