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WILLS AND PROBATE: Powers of Attorney

It is always good advice to arrange your affairs during your lifetime, principally through the making of a Will, so that your property passes in a tax efficient and orderly fashion to your beneficiaries. Equally, it is good advice, whilst you still have mental capacity, to make arrangements for decisions to be taken on your behalf in the event that you lose mental capacity during your lifetime as otherwise it might be necessary to obtain authority to make those decisions from the Court of Protection. For this reason, we advise clients, particularly those who are elderly, to give powers of attorney to those they can trust to make decisions on their behalf in the event of mental incapacity.

These powers of attorney, which endure until capacity is recovered or death, are called Lasting Powers of Attorney. There are two types; one for financial decisions and the other for health and care decisions. In both cases, careful thought ought to be given to the selection of the attorneys, how they are to act and in what circumstances who should be notified (if at all) and who should be the certificate provider.

Besides Lasting Powers of Attorney there are other types of legal instruments which confer limited authority in other situations, such as general powers of attorney, trust powers of attorney and proxies or commercial powers of attorney. Depending on your circumstances, members of the department can assist you to select and then draft the appropriate power of attorney.