• David Shackleton

Lasting Powers of Attorney - Dales Life talk to David Shackleton

We talk to David Shackleton of Eccles Heddon Solicitors about Lasting Powers of Attorney

David Shackleton obtained a Masters degree in Law at Leeds Metropolitan University and is currently a Partner and Head of the Private Client Department at Eccles Heddon’s Ripon office.


Most people are well aware what a will is, even if they haven’t actually got round to making one yet. Lasting powers of attorney are equally important when it comes to taking sensible precautions regarding your own and your family’s future, but are much less widely understood.

A power of attorney, explains David, is a legal mechanism that enables someone to appoint trusted family members or friends as attorneys to make decisions about important matters on their behalf should they have an accident or illness that deprives them of their mental capacity.

“There are two types of lasting power of attorney, and a person can nominate a different attorney or set of attorneys for each type. Property and financial affairs powers of attorney cover issues such as managing bank accounts, pensions, investments and property. Health and welfare powers of attorney cover issues such as what kind of care a person receives – for example choice of care home – and giving or refusing consent to particular kinds of medical treatment.”

“Typically accidents and illnesses that make it impossible for you to handle your own affairs come out of the blue,” says David. “Suddenly you’re in the situation that your property and assets still belong to you but you’re unable to manage them yourself. A lasting power of attorney resolves the situation, but you have to set it up in advance, before you know you need it – that’s to say while you still have the mental capacity to put it in place.”

“I often describe a lasting power of attorney as akin to home insurance. You set up your insurance and pay your premium, but it’s not until later on, if something goes wrong, that it proves to be worth while. And if it does turn out to be needed, you and your family will be jolly glad you put it in place.”

“Of course it’s not necessarily a sudden event that can deprive a person of their mental capacity; it could, for example be a progressive disease. If that’s the case then it’s very important they don’t postpone putting a power of attorney in place. Once mental capacity has waned it’s too late to start the process.”

“If a person hasn’t put a lasting power of attorney in place and loses the capacity to sign paperwork then somebody – usually a family member – will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. It can be a lengthy process and it’s rare for deputyships to be granted for health and welfare issues.”

“The main preparation that people need to make for setting up a power of attorney through a solicitor is to select and obtain permission from suitable attorneys and to provide us with attorneys’ full names, addresses and dates of birth. Up to four attorneys can be appointed, either jointly (their decisions need to be unanimous) or jointly and severally (any one attorney, or any combination of them, can take decisions). Appointing attorneys jointly can be a problem, because if one attorney dies, for example, then that lasting power of attorney becomes null and void.”

“You can also select replacement attorneys as a backup to cover situations in which attorneys are unable to act, die or lose their own mental capacity”.

“Our current charges are £500 plus VAT for a single power of attorney and £750 plus VAT for two. For four – that’s to say property and financial affairs powers of attorney plus health and welfare powers of attorney for a couple – we charge £950 plus VAT. The charging structure reflects the fact that the work done to set up an initial power of attorney makes subsequent ones much quicker to produce. On top of those charges the Office of the Public Guardian charges £82 to register each document.”

“From our point of view as solicitors we can usually get the work done promptly – within a week – but due to the backlog of work caused by Covid it can now take the Office of the Public Guardian about 3 months to register a power of attorney, rather than previously about 2 months. Another reason not to delay starting off the process!”

Eccles Heddon Solicitors have offices in Bedale, Ripon and Thirsk. For more details visit eccles-heddon.co.uk.


Telephone David Shackleton – 01765 601717

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