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When you are appointed as an Attorney for someone under an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney to deal with finances, it can be confusing to understand when and how you can start helping the donor (the person who made the Power of Attorney) with their finances.
Firstly the rules are slightly different for the two different types.
Under an Enduring Power of Attorney, the Attorney can help the donor when they ask for help to manage their finances and the Attorney can use the unregistered document. However if the donor begins to lose the capacity to deal with their finances, the Enduring Power of Attorney needs to be registered in order for it to continue to be used.
With a Lasting Power of Attorney the document is normally registered before it is used and the donor chooses whether it can be used whilst they have capacity or only after they have lost capacity to deal with their finances.
So how do I start acting?
Once the donor asks you to help, you need to discuss with the donor what they would like you to help with. They may decide that they want you to take over the day to day running of their finances, paying bills or taking over the running of their bank accounts, but want you to consult and discuss options with them for other things like investments or property. You are there to support them managing their finances. If you are taking over the running of bank accounts or investments then you need to register the Power of Attorney appointing you with that financial institution.
If the donor can’t manage their finances themselves or want you to take over the management of all their finances then you need to register the power of Attorney with all the banks, building societies, utility companies, Department for Work and Pensions, any private pension, and share companies before you will be able to manage those accounts. You still have a duty to consult with the donor and involve them in decisions as much as they are able. If they are unable to be involved then you must act in their best interests and ensure that you, your family or friends do not benefit from you being appointed as an Attorney.
The new online service from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
The OPG have just launched a new service where all Lasting Power of Attorneys, registered on 17th July 2020, can be accessed by the donor and Attorneys who are given a code they can share with other organisations who can view the document that has been registered. It is hoped that this will help the banks and other organisations know that the document is valid.
However it looks like the financial institutions will still require the Attorneys to complete the usual registration documents. Each bank or building society has their own form that they use so registration for all the institutions can be a lengthy process.
Details of the new service can be found on the OPG website:
It is hoped that, over time, older documents made in 2020 and 2019 will be accessible but we do not yet know if the service will extend to Enduring Powers of Attorney.
For information about making Lasting Powers of Attorney and the role of an Attorney please visit our Attorney pages.
For advice about making a Lasting Power of Attorney, or on removing and replacing Attorneys your please contact Veronica Male, our Court of Protection specialist, on 01788 557 574 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.