Harold Stephens: When does a Power of Attorney come into effect?

Richard Higgs, Chartered Independent Financial Planner

Essentially, it depends on the type of pf PoA and the specific circumstances outlined in the document:

General Power of Attorney: This becomes effective immediately upon its execution. It is suitable for short-term needs, such as when a person is temporarily unavailable or unable to manage their affairs.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): These can be structured to take effect either immediately or upon the occurrence of specific events, such as the donor losing mental capacity. Most people opt for LPAs to be effective only when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.

Mental incapacity may be the result of conditions such as dementia, severe illness, or accidents leading to unconsciousness.
It’s crucial to highlight that regardless of the type of PoA, the appointed attorney must always act in the best interest of the donor and follow any specific instructions outlined in the document.

Registration Process for LPAs:
The registration process for an LPA involves submitting the document to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), along with the relevant fee. Once registered, the attorney gains the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the donor. It is important to recognise that the registration process takes time, applications are rejected for a myriad of reasons and the LPA may not be immediately available for use. The OPG say it’s currently taking around 20 weeks to register.

Planning ahead and registering the LPA in advance can help avoid delays in critical decision-making.

If you are thinking about organising your affairs, why not come to our free LPA seminar:
Wednesday 27th March 9.30am – 11.30 am Stoke Lodge Centre, Shirehampton Road, BS9 1BN. Call 0117 3636 212 or email marketing@haroldstephens.co.uk to book your place.