Power to make decisions on your behalf
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document, which gives someone else (‘the attorney’) the power to make decisions on your behalf (‘the donor’).
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An Enduring Power of Attorney (or EPA) was the system in place prior to the 1st October 2007 but they do not cover health and welfare decisions. So if a valid EPA is in place already, you may need to consider getting an LPA to ensure decision made about care and health treatments are covered.
The role of an attorney is one of great power and responsibility, so it is important that you make the right decisions when choosing your attorney(s), deciding how they should act, and deciding what powers to give them. As they will be considered as your public guardian. Our legal experts can also help and guide you in choosing your attorney(s).
Whether you are an attorney for someone else or you are about to appoint an attorney, our expert solicitors are here to assist you with your questions about LPAs.
While a Will is here to ensure your wishes are carried out after you pass away, an LPA is to protect your interests during your lifetime. As there may come a time when you are unable to make decisions on your financial affairs or health and wellbeing due to a serious accident, or an illness which result in you losing mental capacity, such as dementia.
In such circumstances an LPA gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).
There are two types of Power of Attorney:
Health and welfare LPA
Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:
- your daily routine, for example washing, dressing, eating
- medical care
- moving into a care home
- life-sustaining treatment
This type of LPA can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.
Property and financial affairs LPA
Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
- managing a bank or building society account
- paying bills
- collecting benefits or a pension
- selling your home
This type of LPA comes into affect as soon as it’s registered, with your permission.
You can only prepare LPAs when you have the mental capacity to do so. Your friends or family do not automatically have the legal authority to manage your affairs if you suffer an accident or you have lost mental capacity due to deteriorating mental illness.
Sometimes, it may be too late, in which case, your family or friends will have to make an application to the Court to decide upon who can manage your affairs on your behalf but this can be expensive and time consuming. This may also be protected under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in England and Wales.
Without an LPA, your loved ones may not be allowed to take care of you the way you wish. Hence the importance of making sure an LPA is in place as soon as possible.
Most of us will reach a stage in life where you may not have the physical or mental capacity to make the decisions necessary for your finance and welfare. Therefore, it is essential that you prepare should that time ever arrive.
Our exclusive attorney team can help guide you through your options so that you can rest assured you are prepared and protected. If you need assistance or have any questions, please contact us.
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