Like many of my clients I have elderly parents who in my case are in the latter part of their 80s. Although perhaps leaving this a little late, they have each recently registered a Power of Attorney (POA) with my brother, sister and myself acting as the attorneys.
A POA is a legal document that designates one or other of the attorneys to make decisions on the person’s behalf and can be for any number of reasons although ill-health and mental capacity are the ones most think of immediately.
There are two types, an Ordinary POA and a Lasting (formerly Enduring)POA. The former is only valid whilst the person who established the POA has mental capacity and is able to make their own decisions. The latter remains valid if the person is unable to manage their affairs. There are two types of Lasting POA, one that relates to Property and Financial Affairs which grants the attorney authority to make decisions relating to assets and personal property, and one that is concerning Health and Welfare which as you can imagine is in regard to care and medical treatment. The two types of Lasting POA are independent of each other and have to be registered separately.
It is possible to apply directly to the Office of the Public Guardian to have a POA registered. However some, like my parents, will choose to utilise the services of a local solicitor who, although more expensive, ensured that the important matter was dealt with efficiently and without too much fuss.
If you are incapacitated and do not have a POA in place, the Court of Protection will appoint a deputy to act on your behalf which may be a spouse or family member but this does not have to be the case.
There is a government link on this subject shown below which will give you further information.