A Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
Types of Power of Attorney
There are different types of Power of Attorney, the most common include:
- General Power of Attorney – Choosing someone that will cover the financial affairs for an individual. This can be put in place even while the individual has mental capacity. These are usually used temporary, such as if you’re in hospital and need someone to act for you.
- Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – You will appoint someone that makes decisions on your financial affairs and your healthcare. This will only come into effect once you’ve lost mental capacity. Many people set up an LPA to ensure they’re protected in the future.
Can you dispute a Power of Attorney?
Families sometimes find themselves embroiled in disputes over issues regarding control of finances and inheritance. If the family can’t get along, in some cases, the vulnerable person can end up under the control of the local authority.
If you believe the Power of Attorney has been granted to the wrong person, or you have concerns if their actions are not in the best interests of the individual, this can be disputed. However, it’s important you seek specialist advice as this process can be complex.
The Court of Protection (a superior court who make decisions on welfare or financial matters for people that can’t make that decision themselves) will encourage families to attempt an alternative resolution to the dispute. Warring families are often assigned mediators to help resolve disputes.
What happens if there was no Attorney appointed?
If an individual doesn’t choose a Power of Attorney before they lose mental capacity, the court of protection will appoint a deputy to look after their affairs. This will have the same responsibilities as an attorney and usually is appointed to a family member or friend — providing they have the individuals best interest at heart.
If you’re involved in a power of attorney dispute, our solicitors can provide clear and practical guidance. Call one of our experienced solicitors on (01206) 576 151 or email us.