What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney, often just referred to as an LPA, is a legal document that lets you appoint someone, called an Attorney, to make decisions on your behalf and handle your affairs for you under circumstances when you are physically or mentally unable to do so yourself.
For example, if you became ill and were physically or mentally unable to manage, you would need someone you trust to help you with your day to day affairs – for example paying your bills.
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney does not mean you suddenly lose the ability to make your own decisions. You are in charge of your own affairs for as long as you are able to be and want to be.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, both serving different purposes. Both need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to take effect:
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
This is used for decisions related to finances such as paying bills, managing your bank accounts, collecting pensions and buying or selling property. You can choose whether it can be used immediately or only when you have lost the ability to make financial decisions.
Health and Welfare LPA
This is used for decisions about your personal and medical welfare such as your daily care, what sort of medical treatments and health care you receive and where you live. It also allows your Attorney to give consent or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment on your behalf if you so wish. This Lasting Power of Attorney takes effect only when you are mentally unable to make decisions for yourself.
What happens when you suddenly need help managing your affairs?
One of the main benefits of making a Lasting Power of Attorney is that, should you no longer want to deal with your own affairs, or be unable to, you have personally picked someone you trust to help you when you’ll need it – someone you know who will manage things in a way that is in your best interests.
Should you become incapacitated without an LPA in place, an application to the Court of Protection will need to be made to appoint a Deputy for you, someone to manage your affairs such as pay the bills and have the legal right to deal with your bank. The person appointed by the Court of Protection may not be someone you would have chosen and the whole process can take a long time and is expensive.
You can amend or cancel your Power of Attorney at any time whilst you have the mental capacity to do so and you can also include specific wishes or conditions on your attorneys.
At BTTJ, our specialist solicitors can help you with all aspects of Lasting Powers of Attorney.
You’ll find us extremely good at listening and we will be able to talk through your circumstances with you and understand exactly what it is that you want.
We can draw up Lasting Powers of Attorney for you and get them registered at the Office of Public Guardian, ensuring you fully understand all aspects of the documents and what will happen and when.
We’ll also be able to ensure that the documents accurately represent your wishes and we can add conditions and change the scope of the documents to enable this.
The Attorneys you pick have a responsibility to always act in your best interests. It may be a friend or a family member you’d like. You are able to pick more than one and you can stipulate which decisions the Attorneys have responsibility for. Again, we will be able to ensure that your Lasting Powers of Attorney reflect exactly what you would like to happen.
Our specialist solicitors will also be able to explain how an Advance Decision document sits alongside a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you have any questions about a Power of Attorney or Advance Decision, please get in touch with us.
We can help with any queries you have and advise the best approach for your circumstances.