It is always advisable to have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place to ensure that a trusted friend or family member can deal with your affairs on your behalf, should you become unable to manage them. We take a look at the decisions you will need to take before signing an LPA.
There are two types of LPA you can put in place, an LPA in respect of property and financial affairs and an LPA in respect of your health and welfare.
They both allow your chosen attorney to take decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do this for yourself. In addition, the property and financial affairs LPA can be used while you still have capacity, for example, if you want someone to be able to go to the bank on your behalf.
When you have your LPAs drawn up, you will need to consider the following points:
Who will act as your attorney
You can choose up to four attorneys to act on your behalf and you can select different attorneys for each of the two different LPAs if you wish to. They need to be aged over 18.
They should be people you trust implicitly and who you think will look after your affairs in the way that you would want. This could be a family member or close friend, or if you do not have anyone in your circle who can act, you can appoint a professional, usually an experienced solicitor.
You can also appoint a substitute attorney, in case one of your choices is unable to take on the job when the time comes. You should discuss the appointment with your prospective attorney and let them think it over, so that they are certain that they can cope with the responsibility and that they have the time to give to the role.
If you appoint more than one attorney, you will need to decide whether they will have the power to act jointly, so that both of them will need to agree on a decision on your behalf. Or jointly and severally, meaning that either of them can make a decision on their own.
What authority your LPA will give to your attorney
You can limit the power you give under your LPA to specific jobs, for example, to sell a property, and you can impose restrictions, such as not to carry out certain actions unless you have to move into a care home.
Wishes that you would like your attorney to consider
With regard to your health and welfare LPA, you can give your attorneys guidance as to the decisions you would like them to make. This can include your preferences for where you will live, what medical care you wish to receive and whether you want life-sustaining treatment, should the situation arise.
Peace of mind
If you do not have LPAs in place and you lose the ability to make your own decisions, your loved ones will have to apply to the court before they can act on your behalf.
The process is far more complicated than it is if an LPA has been signed. Putting LPAs in place for the future can give you the peace of mind of knowing that, should the time come, your trusted attorney will be able to deal with your affairs on your behalf as you would wish them to.