Power of attorney question?

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Hi,

Have done searches etc on this point, but can't find a clear answer. Here goes..

As I understand it, lasting powers of attorney are "triggered" when someone like a doctor signs a form saying person X no longer has the mental capacity to make decisions around finances etc.

As I understand it, at this point the person concerned (say an elderly relative) and no longer make decisions and if they sign for say home insurance or mail redirection - these would be invalid.

Is this correct?

Thanks in advance
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  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,764 Forumite
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    No, lasting powers of attorneys become usable as soon as they are registered. Ours were made several years ago so should either of us suddenly be incapacitated our attorneys can step in.

    I also held POA for my late mother, and used in when she still had mental capacity because she was frail and could not do her own shopping.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    You don't need to lack mental capacity to have a POA in use, plenty of people use them because they live abroad and need to be able to get things done on their behalf without being present, for example.
    All you need to do is to send a certified copy of the POA to the institution that you want to transact with so they can register it on their own systems.
    I had a POA for my mum for about ten years, but at no time did she lack mental capacity: I simply used it to handle her finances for her, with her agreement.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Beenie
    Beenie Posts: 1,633 Forumite
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    I am applying for POA on my mother's behalf as she cannot get out to the bank and pay her bills/do shopping etc.

    My understanding is that it allows me to do things on her behalf (banking for instance) because she is physically frail, not because she has lost mental function/capacity.
  • Malthusian
    Malthusian Posts: 10,977 Forumite
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    As I understand it, lasting powers of attorney are "triggered" when someone like a doctor signs a form saying person X no longer has the mental capacity to make decisions around finances etc.

    As others have said this is not the case - they are triggered as soon as they are registered.
    As I understand it, at this point the person concerned (say an elderly relative) and no longer make decisions and if they sign for say home insurance or mail redirection - these would be invalid.

    It's important to understand that the contract would be invalid not because a power of attorney was triggered, but because they no longer have capacity. The insurer would have to refund any premiums on being shown the doctor's letter.

    If they hadn't made a POA, the contract for home insurance or mail redirection would still be invalid. Of course, with no-one able to manage their day to day finances, it might take longer before anyone found out.
  • P933alilli
    P933alilli Posts: 348 Forumite
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    Hi, I now have a registered financial lasting power of attorney for my elderly, 86 year old Mum. She is a little forgetful but doesn't have dementia or anything. My question is do I need to do anything atm regarding the accounts she has with a bank and a building society? The only problem I foresee atm is if she wanted me to move money into another bank for a better rate of interest. She may not be able to hold a conversation with a bank representative over the phone due to hearing loss and doesn't know anything about the passwords or questions ive answered for her to do the online banking. In those circumstances do I need to get copies of the LPA sent to the banks straight away?
  • Linton
    Linton Posts: 17,241 Forumite
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    It sounds like you may be using her accounts without informing the bank/building society. Strictly speaking this is against the Ts&Cs. Better for you to register the PoA with the bank and building society for you to have official access to her accounts. Depending on the bank/building society you may be able to get online access and a card for her accounts in your name.
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,695 Forumite
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    Best thing I found was to take the LPA (original or certified copy only) to the bank, they will make their own copies and certify them and give you the originals back - then they will add you to accounts / give you your own card. I found them v helpful - that was RBS and Nationwide - others may vary!
    Much better than trying to pretend you are her ..
  • P933alilli
    P933alilli Posts: 348 Forumite
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    Yes, a certified copy to each bank seems to be the best idea. I think I can print a copy of the original on my own printer and not go to the solicitor to pay for extra copies?
  • Murdina
    Murdina Posts: 434 Forumite
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    I implemented LPA for my father last year. He does now lack mental capacity for most financial tasks.
    A copy needs to be certified by a solicitor - most organisations did insist on this; indeed one even queried if the solicitor had copied it properly! Others accepted photocopies.
    Some organisations just ask you to say whether or not the person lacks capacity. The difference this makes is that - if they do - only you can transact - if they do not - then you can both transact. Since at least one organisation asked me for documentation which simply does not exist to "prove" my father's situation, I just left it on the basis he would never now manage to get through to anyone on the phone and have a sensible conversation.
  • Murdina
    Murdina Posts: 434 Forumite
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    Collyflower 1 you will also find that each bank has a different process - it is not just a question of sending them a copy. I spent two hours over 2 days with one bank while they did all their admin (bear in mind you will need to do all the money laundering stuff proving your identity etc if you do not also bank there).
    Another did everything very quickly on a visit then totally and utterly messed up - took a day of phone calls to resolve but at least my father was £100 better off at the end of it.
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