What Makes a Power of Attorney Valid?
By Laura McElroy

A Power of Attorney (PoA) is a legal document and gives authority to someone else to act on your behalf. You are called the “donor” because you’re giving the power and the person to whom you delegate authority is called your “attorney”. It is usually someone you trust, such as a family member or a friend. Donors choose attorneys who understand their wishes and respect their values. 

An ordinary PoA is different from a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) as it is for a limited time period and does not have to be registered. The LPA must be registered to be valid but an ordinary PoA is binding from the time it is signed. 

Ordinary Power of Attorney (PoA) 

An ordinary PoA gives a donor’s attorney the authority to act for the donor for a limited time period. This option is very useful if you want to give someone the right to temporarily make decisions for you, such as when you’re going on an extended overseas trip or you’re recovering from an incapacitating injury. 

At Net Lawman, you have access to various PoA templates and you can easily fill a form by referring to the accompanying guidelines. You can grant powers related to any task, specify the extent of power to be exercised and the period of time you wish the power to last. If you’re unsure about anything, you can get the in-house legal team to check your edited form. 

As soon as a donor loses mental capacity, an ordinary PoA expires so it’s not suitable if someone is needed to manage affairs because the donor has lost the ability to handle them. The donor lacks mental capacity if he or she is unable to decide in relation to the matter for some reason, such as impaired brain function.

The donor and the person appointed must both be over 18 years of age and the donor can only appoint someone else to do things he or she has the legal right and capacity to do. The attorney mustn’t be bankrupt or in debt relief if the power relates to financial affairs. 

The donor doesn’t have to register an ordinary PoA with any organization and it has a binding effect as soon as it is signed. 

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) 

A lasting Power of Attorney is used in anticipation of a person no longer being able to handle their own affairs. It is an ongoing arrangement with no expiry date and has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian

You can organize two types of LPA, one dealing with property and financial affairs, and the other dealing with health and welfare. An LPA for property and financial affairs allows your attorney to do things such as manage your bank accounts, pay your bills, manage your investments and sell your home. 

An LPA for health and personal welfare allows your attorney to make decisions about your daily medical care, moving into a care home or having life-sustaining medical treatment. 

Two separate applications must be submitted and you can’t set it up an LPA for someone who has already lost mental capacity. As long as the LPA was created while the donor was mentally capable, it doesn’t matter when it is registered. 

Once it is registered, it is effective immediately or when the donor loses capacity. It ends when the donor dies. It is possible for a donor to revoke a Power of Attorney at any time as long as he or she is still mentally competent. 

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