What Type of Power of Attorney Should You Have?


It can be difficult having end of life discussions with friends or family members. However, everyone should be prepared in case he or she is stricken by a serious illness or in an accident and left incapacitated. The best way to express your wishes is to have a power of attorney set up.

Why Have a Power of Attorney?

If you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself, you need some way to convey your wishes. Although a spouse or one of your children may think that he or she knows what you want, it can be burdensome to need to make decisions for a loved one if he or she is unsure about what to do. To take the guesswork out of the decision making, you can have one of these legal documents filed for you:

  • Ordinary Power of Attorney
  • Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Enduring Power of Attorney

Ordinary Power of Attorney

An Ordinary Power of Attorney is only valid while you’re still in control of your mental facilities. However, it gives legal authority to someone, usually a lawyer, to make financial decisions on your behalf. You can limit the type of assets for which he or she can make decisions. For instance, you may wish him or her to make decisions about your bank accounts or business but not your home.

Many people have an ordinary power of attorney set up if they are going to be travelling for a few months and cannot be reached or they may be homebound and want someone to act on their behalf to pay bills or get cash from their accounts for them. This type of power of attorney can be temporary or permanent, depending on your situation.

Lasting Power of Attorney

If you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself because you no longer have the mental capacity to do so or if you wish not to, then you can set up a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA. With an LPA, you appoint someone who you trust to make decisions for you, such as one of the solicitors in Yorkshire. There are two types of LPAs: one for financial decisions and one for making health and care decisions.

With a LPA for financial decisions, you can control which assets your appointee can make decisions for. The LPA allows him or her to:

  • Pay your bills, including the mortgage.
  • Make decisions about repairs on your property.
  • Invest money.
  • Buy and sell your property.

For health and care decisions, the appointee can decide:

  • On medical decisions.
  • Where you should live.
  • What foods you should have.
  • Who can contact you.
  • Which activities to be involved with.
  • About life saving treatments.

Enduring Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney allowed the appointee to make financial decisions for you but it was replaced with the Lasting Power of Attorney in October 2007. If you had an EPA set up before October 2007, it should still be valid.

With a power of attorney, you can detail exactly what you wish to happen in any situation so no one else needs to decide for you.

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