Lasting Power of Attorney rules differ

by Sarah Ashcroft

Three-quarters of people in the UK feel that society is not geared up to deal with dementia, according to a new report by Alzheimer's Society. The study found that three in five (61 per cent) people diagnosed with dementia are left feeling lonely, three-quarters (77 per cent) feel anxious or depressed and nearly half (44 per cent) have lost friends.

However, it is possible to take action now by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one for health and welfare and another for property and financial affairs. It is important people understand the different types of power of attorney documents and how they vary in their application.

The health and welfare document lets someone choose another person or people to make decisions on issues such as care and medical treatment. The financial document is for appointing someone to deal with assets, property and money.

But in addition to the obvious differences, there are extra variations in the way each is handled.

Steve Wade from the Office of the Public Guardian explains: "For a health and welfare power of attorney, even if it has been registered with us it can only be used when the person lacks the capacity to make those decisions for themselves.

"With a property and affairs power it is different. Normally it can be used straight away once it has been registered, but if the person making it prefers that it only applies when they have lost capacity, they can place a restriction to that effect in the power when they make it."

The Office of the Public Guardian is an agency with responsibilities for the registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney in 2007. However, there is no need to replace the older version as long as it was written and signed before October 1st 2007.

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Published on: May 4, 2012

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