Making a Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a written legal document giving someone else authority to take actions and decisions on your behalf.

There are different types of Power of Attorney according to where you live in the UK.

The person you appoint is known as an Attorney. You can appoint more than one person to act for you.

Before you choose someone, consider the following:

  • How well do you know the person?
  • Do you trust the person to look after your money and make decisions in your best interests?
  • If you choose more than one person, decide whether they should act only jointly (both must agree before acting) or jointly and separately (just one of them can make a decision if necessary).

It may be a good idea to talk to a solicitor about preparing a Power of Attorney and the costs involved.

England and Wales

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) that can be used in England and Wales. Both types of LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used. You can choose to make one type or both.

It is always best to complete Lasting Power of Attorney forms before they are needed.

Finance and Property Lasting Power of Attorney

This type of Power of Attorney allows your Attorney to deal with financial matters such as paying bills, how to spend your money, collecting pensions and dealing with bank or building society accounts.

Your Attorney can sign cheques on your behalf and any other paperwork if you are physically unable to do so, but still able to make your own decisions. It can also include selling your home if necessary.

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

This type of Power of Attorney (previously called Personal Welfare) allows your Attorney to make health and social care decisions on your behalf when you can’t do so because of mental incapacity.

This can include when to accept or refuse medical care, life-sustaining treatment, your care arrangements, where you should live and who has access to confidential information, such as your health records.

Enduring Power of Attorney

The Enduring Power of Attorney was replaced by the Finance and Property Lasting Power of Attorney in 2007.

If you made an Enduring Power of Attorney that was signed and witnessed before October 2007 you can either continue to use it or cancel it and set up a Finance and Property Lasting Power of Attorney. You can also make a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.

Find out more about Power of aTTORNEY

It may be a good idea to get advice from a solicitor about preparing these documents.

You can get advice and the forms you will need from the Office of the Public Guardian, part of the Ministry of Justice, on 0300 456 0300 or visit the Government's Power of Attorney page.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland you are able to make an Enduring Power of Attorney dealing with financial matters.

There is currently no way of appointing a Health and Welfare Attorney.

If a person has not already appointed an Enduring Power of Attorney and becomes mentally incapacitated, the High Court may appoint a 'controller' to deal with the day-to-day management of that person’s affairs.

All matters regarding Enduring Power of Attorney and Controllership are handled by the High Court (Office of Care and Protection) based in Belfast. You can also call 028 9072 4733.

Scotland

You can make a Continuing Power of Attorney, which deals with financial affairs, or a Welfare Power of Attorney, which deals with social and health care needs.

You can also make a Power of Attorney that deals with both financial and welfare/care matters. These types of Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).

A Continuing Power of Attorney, which deals with money or financial matters, can be used as soon as it has been registered or you can state that it is only to be used at a later date, such as when a doctor says you are no longer able to make any decisions. A Welfare Power of Attorney can only be used once you are no longer able to make any decisions about your care.

For more information visit the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website or call 01324 678 300.