The Importance of Planning for the Future with a Power of Attorney

Life is uncertain. Events that may prevent us from making vital decisions about our finances, health, or welfare can unfold.

In such circumstances, a power of attorney (PoA) becomes invaluable. This legal document, rooted in the Powers of Attorney Act 1971, ensures that your decisions are made according to your wishes, even if you’re unable to make them yourself.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document wherein you, the ‘donor,’ appoints one or more persons, known as ‘attorneys,’ to make decisions on your behalf.

The circumstances under which they act, the scope of their powers, and the type of decisions they make can vary based on the type of PoA in place.

There are various types of power of attorney:

  • Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA): This is a temporary arrangement where you give someone the authority to act as your agent for specific tasks or for a specific period. It is valid only if you, the donor, retain mental capacity. It’s governed by the Power of Attorney Act 1971.
  • Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): Introduced under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, it’s a more comprehensive document. There are two types: one for decisions about health and welfare and another for property and financial matters.

The Process

  1. Choose Your Attorney(s): Start by selecting trustworthy individuals at least 18 years old to act as your attorney(s). Ensure they are willing to take on this responsibility.
  2. Decide on the Type of LPA: You’ll need to determine whether you require a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, which addresses decisions about finances and property, or a Health and Welfare LPA, focusing on health and care decisions.
  3. Complete the LPA Form: The necessary paperwork is available on the gov.uk website. Fill it out, specifying the powers you are giving to your attorney.
  4. Signature and Witness: After filling out the form, you, your attorney(s), and a certificate provider (someone verifying that you understand the LPA and signed it without undue pressure) must sign it.
  5. Register with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG): You can either register online or via post. Keep in mind that there’s a registration fee, though some might qualify for a reduction or exemption based on income or certain benefits.
  6. Wait for Validation: The OPG will then notify you, the attorney(s), and any named individuals about the registration. A set waiting period allows for any potential objections.
  7. Receiving the Confirmed LPA: After successful registration, the OPG will return the LPA to you or your solicitor if you’ve involved one in the process.

Remember, LPAs can also appoint replacement attorneys to step in if primary ones become unavailable or unable. Additionally, you have the power to cancel your LPA as long as you have the mental capacity to make that decision.

For those who set up an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) before October 1, 2007, it remains valid but is limited to property and financial decisions only.

Benefits of Planning Ahead

The primary benefit of planning ahead with a power of attorney is peace of mind.

Knowing that someone you trust will handle your affairs if you’re incapacitated alleviates the stress for both you and your loved ones.


  1. Protecting Financial Assets: Ensures that your finances are managed efficiently and prevents potential misuse.
  2. Healthcare Choices: With an LPA for health and welfare, you’re assured that medical decisions align with your beliefs and preferences.
  3. Avoiding Court Intervention: Without a PoA, families might have to undergo the cumbersome process of applying for a deputyship order through the Court of Protection, which is time-consuming and expensive.

Solicitors for the Elderly

It’s crucial to seek legal advice when setting up a PoA. Solicitors with specialist knowledge in power of attorney can provide tailored advice to guide you through the process.

They have expertise in elderly client law, ensuring that your best interests are safeguarded.


In essence, powers of attorney are more than just legal documents; they’re a bridge to ensuring that your wishes are upheld and your interests protected.

Given the unpredictability of life, making provisions for unforeseen events is not only prudent but essential.

Investing time now to secure your future might be one of the most significant gifts you give to yourself and your loved ones.

Batt Broadbent offers bespoke advice on all forms of power of attorney. Contact us here to learn more about how we can help you.

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