Can Power Of Attorney Change A Will?

No, someone with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) cannot change a Will. 

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone the right to make decisions on someone else’s (the donor's) behalf. The donor provides the attorney significant powers to make vital decisions about their finances or health and welfare if they cannot do this for themselves. This is set up when the donor has mental capacity and the attorney acts for the donor when they are still alive. On the other hand, a Will becomes relevant only when the Lasting Power of Attorney ceases, which is the moment the donor dies. The Will then dictates what happens to the donor’s assets. 
 
Does Power Of Attorney Override A Will In The UK?

No, Power of Attorney does not override a Will in the UK. Under certain circumstances, and depending on the donor's choice, an attorney can be privy to the donor’s Will even before they pass away. An attorney can also help a donor to draft or amend a Will providing they have mental capacity, otherwise, the Will may be made invalid. 

Although an attorney does have the power to control and dispose of the assets that appear in the Will, this does not mean the attorney can change or override the validly executed Will of the donor. They must act in the donor’s best interests. For instance, an attorney may need to sell the donor’s property, handle the donor’s finances in their bank account, collect benefits, or pay bills. 

An attorney can potentially abuse the power entrusted to them. For instance, they could easily steal money from the donor’s bank account if they have access to this, but this is against the law. Thus, it is crucial that the donor gives Lasting Power of Attorney to someone entirely trustworthy.

The donor or their relatives can also hold the attorney both civilly and criminally liable if they abuse the Lasting Power of Attorney or do not act in the donor’s best interests. An example could be changing the donor’s Will to benefit themselves. 

Although the Lasting Power of Attorney gives the attorney a significant amount of power, there are limitations. An LPA cannot override a Will and the attorney can only make decisions within the scope of powers agreed upon in the LPA.

What Powers Does A Lasting Power Of Attorney Have?

There are two types of LPA health and welfare and property and financial affairs. The donor can choose to make one or both types. With the Lasting Power of Attorney, the attorney can handle the donor’s financial accounts, such as closing bank accounts or creating and funding trusts. They can also manage the donor’s real estate, business, and health decisions, such as moving into a care home or seeking medical care.

There are, however, limits to the powers of the LPA. For instance, an attorney cannot make decisions about a task not expressly described in the LPA. The attorney also has no power over specific actions the donor prohibits them from doing such as accessing their safe deposit box or withdrawing from their bank account.

How Can GloverPriest Help?

At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like help with Power of Attorney or changing a Will, speak to one of our expert lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form. 

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