How do I access my finances?

30/01/2018

When you are in prison it is very difficult to deal with your property and financial affairs on the outside. The simplest way to handle these matters is to appoint someone you trust to follow your instructions and deal with everything for you. This can be achieved by making a Power of Attorney.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document by which a person gives the power to another person to act in their name and on their behalf. It may be a general power or it can be limited to certain activities or areas. A Power of Attorney is normally used when the person giving the power is absent or unable to carry out the actions required.
These can be:
• Managing bank accounts.
• Dealing with property.
• Administering finances.

How is a Power of Attorney made?

A Power of Attorney is a powerful legal document and is made by deed. The document appoints an attorney chosen by you to carry out your wishes. The attorney has substantial powers to deal with the matters you wish them to deal with. Therefore the attorney should be someone – or more than one person – who you trust completely to do what you want. The attorney must also agree to act as attorney.

Once you have decided who you want to be your attorney or attorneys and they have agreed to do it you will need to decide what it is they will be doing.

You can choose to give them a blanket authority to do what needs to be done or you can limit their powers to act to certain areas you decide are appropriate. For example you might wish them to sell property for you but not to have the power to administer your finances generally. You may wish different attorneys to deal with different issues.

What are the different types of Power of Attorney?
General Power of Attorney
This is the easiest version to make and can be put in place very quickly.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
These are more complicated, require greater formality and also registration with the Office of the Public Guardian to be effective. There are two types. One deals with property and finances and one deals with health and welfare. LPAs are more complex as they allow the attorneys to continue to act for you if you lose the mental capacity to make decisions yourself.

Can you terminate the Power of Attorney?

Yes. You can end the attorney’s authority at any time while you have the mental capacity to do so.
A general Power of Attorney is ended at any point that you lose mental capacity. LPAs continue to work even if you have lost mental capacity.

How can we help?
If you are in custody and are concerned about the management of your finances in the community please contact us. We advise on the options and how best to make sure that what you want to happen does happen. We draft the document and make sure that it is properly created and effective so that is has legal standing. We give ongoing advice and assistance to you and your attorneys.

Should you require any assistance with a Prison Law issue please contact our Prison Law department at Hine Solicitors on 01865 518971 or FREEPOST – RTHU – LEKE – HAZR Hine Solicitors, Seymour House, 285 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7JF for our Oxford office or FREEPOST – TRXS-TYCU-ZKHY Hine Solicitors, Crown House, 123 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8LD for our Birmingham Office.

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