Being given the responsibility to act as an attorney to manage the financial or health affairs of another person can be a considerable task and for many clients it can be a challenge. Salvatore Volante provides some guidance on the responsibilities of an attorney and explains how our advisers can help you if you become an attorney.
The value of a lasting power of attorney
A power of attorney can be arranged by anyone and it allows them to appoint one or more people to manage their affairs in the event that they lose mental capacity. There are two key parties to the power of attorney, the donor and the attorney, who is the person appointed by the donor to make decisions on their behalf.
There are two types of lasting power of attorney (LPA) – property & financial affairs and health & care. The LPA for property & financial affairs covers such things as buying or selling property, investing money and paying bills. The LPA for health & care enables the attorney to make decisions on matters such as where the donor should live and what treatment they should receive. An enduring power of attorney set up under the old rules, before September 2007, can onlybe used to make financial decisions and therefore it may still be beneficial to set up a LPA for health & care.
Once the document is completed, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and this process can be time consuming, taking up to 10 weeks to complete. Without the LPA in place, should an individual lose mental capacity, relatives will need to make an application to the Court of Protection to be able to take on the management of a person’s responsibilities, which can be time consuming and cause additional hardship if funds are needed quickly to meet costs such as care fees.
A solicitor or legal expert can help you set up the LPA and we can help you to find a suitable contact in your area.
Did you know?
If you set up a power of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, you may be entitled to a refund. This refund is due to lower registration costs of the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) which were not passed on to their customers. So far only around 230,000 of the 1.9 million powers of attorney registered during that time have claimed the refund, which could be up to £54.
If you think that you, or someone you are acting for, may be eligible, please visit www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund for more details and to make a claim.
Acting as an attorney
Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, an attorney must make decisions in the donor’s best interests and be aware of the limits and extents that the power of attorney permits. If an attorney exceeds his authority or mismanages the donor’s affairs, an application can be made to the Court of Protection for the attorney to be removed.
Taking on this responsibility can be daunting. How do you know what the donor’s financial needs will be in the future? How can you manage their money so that it continues to provide the income needed to meet their ongoing expenditure? How can you manage the wishes of the donor? Where do you invest the money to get it working?
There are other circumstances where an ordinary power of attorney could be arranged, for example when someone is out of the country when a decision or actions are required.
Providing a helping hand
Under your existing Client Service Agreement, we can provide you with a range of services if you are acting as an attorney or an executor for an estate, including notifying product providers, third parties or obtaining valuations.
Working with your Origen adviser, we can help you to avoid unnecessary additional costs by having your own financial affairs and your attorney responsibilities managed by the same trusted adviser who has an understanding of your and your donor’s financial needs.
If you would like to know more about how a lasting power of attorney can help you and your family, or if you need to review any existing arrangements, we can help you through our network of legal contacts – and when it comes to acting as an attorney, our advisers can help you to fulfil your duties and manage the donor’s investments and assets, removing some of the worry of taking on this responsibility.
This artical is for information only, based on our understanding as at December 2018 and is not to be taken as Financial Advice.
CA3121 Exp 12/19