Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a way of appointing somebody to legally act on your behalf, so that they can do such things as go to the bank for you, ‘phone utilities companies and generally do anything that you yourself would ordinarily be able to do.

There are a number of different powers of attorney in existence and the law concerning them has changed considerably since 2007.  Lasting Powers of Attorney (‘LPAs’) tend to be the type most widely recommended since they continue to be valid if the person who has made one loses their mental capacity. Regrettably, too many people have either not heard about powers of attorney or mistakenly believe that they are either too young to be concerned about it or that they are not at risk of losing their mental capacity. Oh to have such foresight! 

LPAs comprise two separate documents – a Health and Welfare LPA and a Property and Financial Affairs LPA. The former allows the Attorney to make decisions such as where the person lives, what they eat, even who they socialise with, as well as what medical treatment they do or do not receive.  This can even extend to life support, as in the LPA you can state whether your Attorney is able to make this decision or whether this should be for Doctors and nursing staff to decide instead. An Attorney can only act for you under this type of LPA if you have lost your mental capacity. Under the Property and Financial Affairs LPA, your Attorney can withdraw money from your bank account and spend it on your behalf, set up Direct Directs, sell shares, buy and sell property and generally deal with anything that needs to be done, unless you state otherwise in the LPA. An Attorney can act under this type of LPA once it has been registered with the Court. Therefore an LPA is not just concerned with the loss of mental capacity but can be useful if the person becomes hospitalised, housebound or simply does not want the bother of having to deal with their personal matters anymore.

There is no requirement in law for a person to make an LPA, but if there is no LPA and the person loses their mental capacity then the consequences can be severe. A Deputy would need to be appointed by the Court of Protection so that the person’s property and finances can be handled; this is an extremely expensive, very long-winded process which can cause a lot of stress to the family. Without the Health and Welfare LPA in place then Social Services can decide where the person lives and Doctors can decide what medical treatment the person receives; such decisions will often be made without the family’s opinions being sought or taken into consideration.

People often mistakenly equate making an LPA with handing over control over their finances. This is not the case, since you can carry on dealing with your financial and personal affairs for as long as you wish. We often liken LPAs to an insurance policy in that they can be taken out, put away and forgotten about until they need to be used.

Another misconception is that if a joint account is held then this removes the need for an LPA. Although it can make access to the account easier, banks etc can still restrict access to the account if one of the holders loses their mental capacity. Similarly, a third party mandate, where a son or daughter, for instance, can withdraw money from an account ceases to be valid if the account holder loses their mental capacity. The only way to avoid such problems is to make an LPA.

As well as advising on LPAs and other powers of attorney, we can also undertake the registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney and LPAs. We also offer a Certificate Provider’s service, whereby an LPA is ‘signed off’ to confirm that the person making it is aware of what they are doing and is not being pressurises into doing it. 

We always provide fixed fees. As with all our services, we will always provide a free initial meeting where we can discuss what your requirements are before advising on the way forward. There is never any ‘hard sell’ and no obligation for you to instruct us.



At our office: 16 Bolton Street, Brixham, Devon TQ5 9DE

By phone: 01803 850850

By email: luisanicholson@btconnect.com



Monday to Thursday – 9am to 6pm

Friday – 9am to 5pm

Early morning, late evening and weekend appointments are available – please call us to arrange