What is a Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney (POA) is the legal document gives you the right to choose someone (the Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf.

This could be for things like property, finances or health care. It may be that you lack the mental capacity to make such decisions in the future because off ill-health or an accident or you simply wish someone else to make those decisions for you.

Please contact Tim Butcher on 01189 575337 for a free initial appointment

A Power of Attorney is one of the most important legal documents anyone can have. In fact, it is probably more important than a Will, because it is about what happens to you when you are alive, as opposed to what happens to you when you have passed away.

There are two types of Power of Attorney:

  • The property and financial affairs Power of Attorney
  • The health and welfare Power of Attorney

What’s the difference between a health and welfare and financial power of attorney?

Let’s take a look first at the Property and Financial Affairs type.

A Property and Affairs Power of Attorney lets you appoint someone to make decisions on the way your property affairs are managed and how your money should be spent. Choosing someone who who is used to dealing with money and has a good head for figures is recommended.

Personal Health and Welfare Power of Attorney.

This gives someone you choose the power to make decisions about your healthcare and welfare. This may be important decisions to refuse or consent to treatment on your behalf and things like deciding where you live e.g. nursing or retirement home.

Who should I ideally choose to be my power of attorney?

You don’t have to have the same Attorney for both Powers or Attorney. It could be a good idea if the person who decides on your Health and Welfare really understands about your emotional requirements. It is often a close relative that takes this role, often a son or daughter or younger brother or sister.

These decisions can only be taken on your behalf when the Power of Attorney is registered and you lack the capacity to make the decisions yourself.

When should I get my power of attorney organised?

Serious accidents, dementia, strokes, ill-health – these can all strike us down without warning. Hopefully, your Power of Attorney will never be needed, (like your house insurance).

But we know the future is unpredictable. And if a family member has to sort out your affairs, (and if you own a business it's even more important to get one) then they will find it easier when you have a Power of Attorney already registered.

You are never to young to have a Power of Attorney!

When you are relatively healthy and not even thinking about your retirement the a Power of Attorney may be the last thing on your mind. But the truth is that you don’t want to have your family applying to the courts, with all stress and expense that entails, when you can arrange things in advance.

An Attorney does not have Carte Blanche!

A Power of Attorney does not give anyone the right to do what they want. The document only becomes active when you specify the conditions.

For example, if you have a stroke and are unable to communicate your thoughts about your finances then that is when your power of attorney comes into play.

Business Owners and Power of Attorney

If you own a business, have you got a Power of Attorney?

It's something we recommend to all our business clients. The reason is because not being able to make decisions about a business can prevent a business functioning how it should.

For example, imagine that the incapacity is permanent. Abusiness owner needs to sell the business. If everything is organised an attorney can make the right decisions about selling the business, perhaps to pay for care.

Likwise if you are a shareholder in a business, then you can allocate an attorney to vote for you in any decisions if necessary whilst you are incapacitated.

Remember as soon as you recover, as a business owner you will be able to make your own decisions again.

Power of Attorney is like an insurance policy. Never needed, until it’s needed.

Many clients get their Power of Attorney organised when they have their will made by us. Peace of mind comes from knowing everything is taken care of in the right legal fashion.

How do you set up a power of attorney?

Simply give me a call on 0118 957 5337 so that we can arrange a meeting.

If you haven't got a will, or would like to update yours, please do mention it as we may be able to offer your Will and Power of Attorney work as a joint-package.

The process of registering a Power of Attorney is relatively straightforward in terms of form-filling.

You don’t have to use a solicitor to set it up or register them.

There are three main steps.

  1. Choose your attorney (remember you can have more than one and they can be different for each LPA, whether health and welfare or finance and property.
  2. Fill in the forms and appoint your attorney (online or paper forms)
  3. Register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian, which takes up to 10 weeks.

The registration fee is £82 for each Power of Attorney, so £164 for both. These are the registration fees you pay the Government.

So that is pretty much it. Except that the Office of The Public Guardian is getting thousands of calls a week because people are asking questions. That’s because it’s not always simple and many people end up making mistakes.

Taking professional advice from a solicitor can prevent many of the mistakes and problems which arise when the Power of Attorney comes into play. Charities such as Age Concern recommend getting legal advice to ensure everything is done properly, for example that there is an appropriate certificate provider.

And remember, if you don't register the power of attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian, it is not valid. It is not enough to have an intention to register, so if you get stuck, or get halfway through the process or think you have made a mistake – please get in touch.

The big questions about who to choose as an attorney or attorneys, how to ensure they act in your best interests, and how your attorneys should act, are the big questions where a solicitor can help you.

These questions are difficult to handle on your own if you are not 100% sure. In our experience of having helped hundreds of people arrange their legal affairs; this is where we really earn our money. Getting things right from the start is a huge weight off people’s minds.

Solicitors can also help you if your attorney doesn’t act in your best interest and this is another reason why many people prefer to use a legal specialist. It gives another layer of protection of the individual.

If you would like Hewetts Solicitors to help you set up and register your Power of Attorney, please contact us on 0118 957 5337 and we will be happy to advise you. We have offices in Reading, Bracknell and Windsor and we can also arrange for a home visit.

How much does it cost to make a power of attorney?

There are two main ways to make a power of attorney. The first route is a the DIY route where you do it yourself. This takes some time and the actual fee you pay to the Government is £82 for each Power of Attorney. Anyone who earns less than £12,000 a year can get one registered for £41.

That means if you get the Health and Welfare and Financial Power of Attorney, the registration fees are £164 in total.

The alternative is to get a qualified solicitor to organise your Power of Attorney. This does cost more but it is an investment in getting things right and gaining invaluable advice to protect you.

DIY leads to problems!

Since the Government allowed individuals to register Power of Attorney via the DIY route, there have been 500,000 phone calls made to the Government helpline. This indicates that a lot of people are making mistakes and need clarification.

Because attorneys are able to make important life decisions on behalf of vulnerable people, involving their property, money, medical treatment and end of life wishes it is 100% necessary to get it right when setting them up.

While DIY methods might be cheap in the short-term, if not done properly and professionally, they expose people to unacceptably high levels of risk.

Participants in the recent Solicitors For The Elderly study said they felt more confident about their ability to make informed and appropriate choices after receiving a consultation with a specialist solicitor. Most of them made significant changes to the decisions expressed in their Powers of Attorney.

For the the vast majority of people consulting a solicitor is the most effective, safe, and legally reliable option.

Getting help with an existing Power of Attorney doesn’t cost the earth. For example, we offer a fixed fee Power of Attorney Service for £695 That’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Here is a general guide to our standard fees for Power of Attorney. We can quote an exact fee once we have discussed your unique situation.




Court Fee


x 1 LPA





x 2 LPAs





x 4 LPAs






More often a couple will arrange their wills and Power of Attorney at the same time. This is the easiest and most cost effective way of ensuring your legal affairs are in order. Please call us on Reading 0118 957 5337


Contact Details:

Contact Tim Butcher in our Private Client Department on:
Direct Line: 0118 955 9605
Email: t.butcher@hewetts.co.uk

or complete the Wills & Probate
Enquiry Form

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