Ordinary Power of Attorney

Ordinary power of attorney

An Ordinary Power of Attorney is quick and easy to make, granting power for someone to help you with your finances when you need it.

There are several different ways to get help with your finances. They include:

  • Lasting Powers of Attorney:
    • A legally binding document that you can make which appoints one or more persons to help with finances and property.
    • You can choose how they are appointed and you can limit their powers.
    • You can decide if the LPA can be used once registered (with your permission) or only when you have lost mental capacity.
    • You need a Certificate Provider to confirm you understand the document, and all attorneys must also sign. Everything must be done in the correct order.
    • Once complete, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
    • There is a registration fee of £82 (reduced if you are on a low income).
    • The registration process alone can take a substantial amount of time (currently the delay is 13 – 15 weeks).
    • If you lose mental capacity, the Lasting Power of Attorney will still be valid.
  • Ordinary or General Power of Attorney:
    • A legally binding document that you can make which appoints one or more persons to help with finances and property.
    • You can choose how they are appointed and you can limit their powers.
    • You can decide if the Ordinary Power of Attorney can be used straight away (once signed and witnessed) or from a future date.
    • Only you need to sign, in the presence of two witnesses.
    • It does not have to be registered although banks typically request that you ‘register’ it with them.
    • If you lose mental capacity, the Ordinary Power of Attorney will no longer be valid.
  • Third Party Mandates:
    • A form provided by your bank that allows you to add someone to your account.
    • The third party will have full unlimited access to your accounts.
    • You can usually only use this for bank accounts – it does not help with other financial matters or property.
    • If you lose mental capacity, the Third Party Mandate will become invalid.
  • Appointees:
    • Someone can help you with claim forms and collecting benefit payments if you are struggling.
  • Deputyship Orders:
    • A Deputyship Order is an appointment by the Court where someone has lost the mental capacity to make financial decisions for themselves.
    • Can only be used where the person has already lost mental capacity.
    • The person does not get to choose who their Deputy is – anyone can apply, although the Court will decide if it considers them suitable.

From the above, you can see that the ideal solution is to put in place an Ordinary (or ‘General’) Power of Attorney first, whilst you have a Lasting Power of Attorney prepared. An Ordinary Power of Attorney is a very quick, cheap way to get help if you are physically incapacitated. You might, for example, have to stay in hospital for some time, or find yourself unwell or isolating at home. In these circumstances, the Ordinary Power of Attorney allows you to get assistance instantly, without having to wait weeks for registration. However, you should make an Lasting Power of Attorney as well, because this will still be usable should you lose mental capacity at any time.

Some solicitors will draft an Ordinary/General Power of Attorney as a holding document for you to use while your Lasting Power of Attorney is being registered, at no extra charge.

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