It is a general misconception that if you are next of kin, married, live together or in a civil partnership, you will be able to act on a partner’s behalf should incapacity occur, but you have no automatic right in law to do so unless you have a power of attorney in place.
If you do not have a lasting power of attorney in place a deputy courtship order will have to be applied for in order to access any essential documents or accounts (pensions, insurance policies, savings and bank accounts etc), and to start to make any decisions on behalf of the incapacitated.
This can take up-to 9 months to be put in place and is a complex procedure and currently costs in the region of £3,000.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
The Property and Finance LPA – allows you to nominate others to carry out anything financial such as paying bills, speaking to utility providers, dealing with bank accounts and investments, and buying and selling property.
The Health and Welfare LPA – allows you to nominate others to be able to make decisions on the type of medical treatment you want to receive, go to doctor’s appointments with you and decide what care you receive.