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How to start the power of attorney process

Power of attorney allows one or more people to make decisions on behalf of someone else. It’s usually granted to a relative or very close friend. Ordinary and lasting power of attorney are similar, but the latter only comes into effect if the person being helped, the donor, loses mental capacity.

To gain lasting power of attorney and make decisions on behalf of someone:

  • The person who wants you to have the power (the donor) must request you are granted it.
  • You must sign a power of attorney form.
  • You’ll need to register with the Office of the Public Guardian.
  • Pay a fee of £110.

To gain ordinary power of attorney, a document must be created that:

  • Declares the date, and that the donor is giving power of attorney.
  • States the names, addresses of the donor and the attorney.
  • Is signed by the donor and attorney in front of a witness, and is signed by the witness also.

Having power of attorney is a major responsibility. Speaking to an experienced power of attorney solicitor will not only help the application process run more smoothly, but will also give you access to impartial advice. You’re welcome to speak to a First4lawyers legal specialist about your options.

How to apply for ordinary power of attorney

Ordinary power of attorney is used to make financial decisions for someone over a set period, or for the rest of their life. It can only be used if the person is not expecting to lose mental capacity.

Some examples of people who may want to give ordinary power of attorney include:

  • Someone having an extended hospital visit.
  • A person travelling abroad for a set period.
  • Someone who’s physically unwell.

Setting up ordinary power of attorney involves creating a relatively simple document. But it’s best to get legal advice about the specific wording to make it valid, and the donor and the attorney will need to sign the agreement in front of a witness.

When having the paperwork drawn up, the donor must decide what power the attorney will have. This is usually in regards to financial decisions, such as giving access to a bank account or giving permission to handle sales and purchases.

It’s important to note that:

  • The power of attorney can be withdrawn by the donor at any time.
  • If the donor loses mental capacity, the power of attorney is void.

How to gain lasting power of attorney

Lasting power of attorney differs from ordinary because it only comes into practice if the donor loses mental capacity.

Lasting power of attorney can cover both financial and wellbeing decisions, but the donor needs to stipulate exactly what permissions the attorney will have, as they may not want to pass over full control.

To apply for lasting power of attorney, you can either hire a legal expert to draw up a lasting power of attorney form, or apply using the government’s lasting power of attorney service online.

In either instance, the document should have:

  • The personal details of the donor and their chosen attorney,
  • The decisions the attorney will have permission to make,
  • How the attorney should approach the decisions.
  • Any preferences or instructions the donor wishes to be followed in the event they lose mental capacity.

Once this has been written and signed, you need to fill in an LP3 form which will notify the relevant people. They’ll be given three weeks to reply if they have any objections.

Once they have been told, you need to register the lasting power of attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian. There is a fee of £110 for each application made, which can be paid by credit or debit card over the phone, or via posted cheque.

Would you like help with the power of attorney process?

If you’re confused or unsure what steps are best for you and your family, it could help to consult a legal expert. They can give you impartial recommendations that will help you reach a decision you’re comfortable with.

Getting in touch with First4lawyers means we can connect you to an experienced power of attorney lawyer. They could help you with everything from making the decision to apply, right through to being granted power of attorney. We also have resources that can help you make a will, or fill out probate forms.

Note: First4lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances and not rely on First4lawyers’ online information alone.