Lasting Powers of Attorney
What Is A Lasting Power Of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA for short) is a document which, once registered, allows your attorneys (people you choose) to manage your affairs should you become unable to.
There are two types of LPA:
Health and Welfare & Property and Financial Affairs.
The Health & Welfare LPA
This LPA gives your attorneys the power to make decisions for you governing aspects such as; where you live, the type of care you receive, the care provider, but you are also able to give them the power to consent to/refuse medical treatment on your behalf.
The Property & Financial Affairs LPA
This LPA gives your attorneys the power to manage your finances. They can manage your bank accounts, pay your bills, manage your investments, and to deal with any property you own.
Who are Attorneys
Your attorney should only ever be someone you trust, whether that be a close friend or family member, or a professional organisation. You choose and appoint your attorneys and should never feel pressured into appointing someone. This person will have the power to make decisions for you should you become unable to make them yourself.
Why Make An LPA
You can only create an LPA if you have the required mental capacity. Should you lose capacity you will be unable to make an LPA and your family will have to go through the Court of Protection (CoP) in order to obtain a Deputyship Order to be able to manage things for you. This takes considerable time and is an expensive process. This adds an additional level of stress and anxiety at an already difficult time, which is certainly far from ideal if you have people who are financially dependent on you.
I'm Not Ready for Someone to Manage My Affairs Just Yet, What Should I Do?
Your attorneys cannot act for you until the LPA has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG - the administrative arm of the Court of Protection). Best practice would be to have the LPAs created, registered and stored safely whilst you still have the required mental capacity. Once you lose capacity, you cannot create or amend these documents.
Can I Create My Own LPA?
The short answer is yes,However, the paperwork needs to be filled out correctly, and signed in a specific order. It is important that you receive professional advice so that you can make properly informed decisions.
If you don’t fully understand the process, then this can be very stressful.
In addition, when you register the document with the OPG, any errors will lead to the document being rejected and a further fee being charged*.
*Remissions and exemptions may apply.
Why Might I Become Unable to Make My Own Decisions?
The loss of mental capacity or the inability to be able to make your own decisions could arise from a number of different circumstances including:
Hospital Confinement, A Serious Accident, Senile Dementia
Can I Cancel My LPA?
Yes. You can cancel your LPA at any time, however if it has been registered, a formal process with the OPG will need to be followed. This means it will no longer take effect. You will need to understand what you are doing and be able to make your own decisions.
I'm Nervous About My Attorneys Taking Advantage. Should I Be?
If you don’t have people around you that you trust whole-heartedly, you can always appoint a professional attorney (speak to our team for more information) to act in your best interests. It’s important to understand that your attorneys cannot do what ever they like. They must strictly adhere to the law as stated in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and must make decisions in your best interest. Attorneys are accountable to the Court of Protection.
Should I Seek Professional Advice?
It is important that you seek advice in this specialist area and a member of our friendly team will be able to answer your questions, provide insight and assist you in creating these important legal documents.
There is the risk that it could cost more money in the long run if these documents aren’t created properly.
It’s never too early to consider an LPA and this is just as, if not more important that your Will.
Speak to a member of our friendly team for more advice or information.