Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is often referred to as an LPA. It is a legal document which allows you to appoint one or more people to make certain decisions on your behalf. This can be useful to you, if due to an accident or illness, you are unable to make decisions at the time that they need to be made. In order to make an LPA, you must be over the age of eighteen. You must also have the ability to make your own decisions (mental capacity) at the time of making the LPA.
Types of LPA
There are two different types of LPA, one for your property and finance considerations, and one for health and welfare.
1) Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
This allows the ‘attorney’ acting on your behalf to make decisions about your money and your property. This can include paying your bills or collecting your pension or benefits. It can also include managing your bank accounts and repairing and selling your home.
2) Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
This allows your ‘attorney’ to make important decisions about medical issues such as life-sustaining treatment and medical care. It also includes making decisions about your daily routine including eating, washing and dressing. They can also assist with making arrangements about where you should live, such as moving into a care home if necessary.
Why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The main reason for setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, is so that you can retain control over your life and have your loved ones make decisions for you, when you are deemed to have lost ‘mental capacity.’
One of the main causes of a lack of mental capacity is an illness or disease, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. As these diseases progress, you will become less able to make important decisions about yourself, and with an LPA, your attorney will be able to do this for you. You can also lose capacity through an accident or injury, and this can happen at any age or stage of your life.
Another reason to set up an LPA is because you are unable to carry out some tasks for yourself anymore, but still have the mental capacity to do so. An example of this is if you suffer from an injury or illness that prevents you from travelling or walking long distances. In these circumstances, your attorney can act on your behalf to visit the bank or pay a bill etc.
What happens if I don’t have one?
You can only make an LPA whilst you still have the mental capacity to do so. If you are to suffer an injury or illness and lose capacity before appointing an attorney and registering your LPA, important decisions will be made by the Court of Protection, rather than someone that you know and trust. A consequence of this is that many decisions can be made without any knowledge of your wishes. Your next of kin will be consulted, but the final decision will still remain with the Court of Protection. Your loved ones will be able to apply to the Court of Protection in order to act as your Deputy, but this is often very time consuming and expensive.
Who can be an Attorney?
It is your choice who you appoint to act as your attorney, but it should be somebody that you know and trust, to make decisions in your best interests. It can be your spouse/partner, sibling or even a close friend. You can choose a different attorney for each LPA, and it is advised that you appoint more than one person. This is in case the first person that you choose is unable or unwilling to act on your behalf. It is important that you discuss your wishes with your attorneys, so that if they have to make decisions for you, they know what you want and can act accordingly. These types of conversations can be difficult with loved ones, but are essential to ensure that they are aware of your wishes, and know how you would want such decisions to be made.
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney gives you the reassurance that if the worst should happen, it is not a stranger that makes important decisions on your behalf, but someone that you know and trust.
To get peace of mind that the right people will make decisions on your behalf, simply complete the form below and we will get in touch.