Legal Matters

There are a number of legal issues you may have to consider when caring for someone. This may include Power of Attorney, Lasting Power of Attorney, Court of Protection etc.

Power Of Attorney -  A Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives the authorisation to another person for a persons financial affairs. The Power of Attorney is limited and is valid only while the person whose financial affairs are being handled is fully compos mentis (sound of mind). If the person you are acting on behalf of becomes mentally incapacitated the attorneyship becomes invalid. There are  two types of Power of Attorney:
General Power of Attorney - covers every action that might require a signature or
Specific Power of Attorney - This is limited to a single action such as selling a property
Enduring Power of Attorney -  Before October 2007, people could grant an EPA so a trusted person who could act for them if they could no longer manage their finances. Any EPA remains valid whether or not it has been registered at the Court of Protection, provided that both the donor of the Power and the attorney/s signed the document prior to 1 October 2007.

Lasting Power of Attorney - This has taken over from Enduring Power of Attorney. The lasting Power of Attorney gives the person who is appointed to manage the affairs the right to make not only financial decisions but also welfare decisions for the person is being cared for.

Court of Protection - The Court of Protection makes decisions for people who are unable to do so for themselves. It can also appoint someone (called a deputy) to act for people who are unable to make their own decisions. These decisions are for issues involving the person’s property, financial affairs, health and personal welfare.

Wills - By making a will you or the person you care for can decide what happens to your property and possessions after death. Although you do not have to make one by law, it is the best way to make sure your estate is passed on to family and friends exactly as you wish. If you die without a will, your assets may be distributed according to the law rather than your wishes.

Trusts - Trusts are a way of looking after assets (money, investments, land or buildings) for people

The Citizens Advice Bureau Adviceguide have a excellent advice guide which will give you background on some of the above.