Top Tips for Putting in Place a Power of Attorney

Posted on: January 4th, 2018

Whether or not to have a Lasting Power of Attorney will be a matter of personal choice. However, this decision should not be arrived at lightly or through a sense of obligation.

Annabelle Vaughan sets out her top tips for putting in place a Power of Attorney.  

  1. Think carefully about who you appoint as your attorneys. If you can foresee problems with your chosen attorneys either think again or try and air a grievance to see if it can be resolved.
  2. Read the Mental Capacity Code of Practice. It is an accessible document that sets out how decisions should be made. This will help you understand how your attorneys should act and whether an LPA is right for you, and them.
  3. It is possible to put guidance and instructions for your attorneys in an LPA, but do bear in mind that they will need to act in your best interests if you lack capacity in the future. Think about how you would want to be treated in those circumstances rather than imagining yourself as fit and healthy in a care setting.
  4. Instructions to your attorneys are binding and so need to be drafted carefully. The OPG will delete any instructions that are unworkable, so you should take legal advice if including instructions. You cannot instruct your attorneys to do something unlawful in the UK, such as arrange for euthanasia on your behalf.
  5. Think about when you want your LPA to be used. You must be mentally incapable for a Health and Welfare LPA to be used, but your attorneys can assist you with your finances under a Property and Affairs LPA if you are infirm. In these circumstances, your attorney will clearly need to be someone who respects your autonomy and ability to make decisions to instruct them.

Annabelle Vaughan is a Partner and Head of Court of Protection and Wills, Trusts & Probate at Coffin Mew.

Follow this link to find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorneys.