A Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA gives legal authority to a trusted family member or friend to deal with your affairs on your behalf. It can be used should you ever lose the capacity to make your own decisions.
There are two types of LPA that can be made:
- Financial and property LPA
- Health and welfare LPA
Under a financial property LPA, your attorney can access your bank account, pay your bills, sell your home if necessary and make investments on your behalf.
Under a health and welfare LPA, your attorney can make decisions about where you will live, your day-to-day routine and the medical treatment you will receive.
You can appoint a single attorney or more than one if you wish, and they can act individually or you can require them to make any decisions together, although this may make their job more difficult to manage. You can also name replacement attorneys who can act should anyone be unable or unwilling to take on the role when the time comes.
You can appoint different attorneys for each type of LPA and all of your attorneys have a duty to act in your best interests at all times.
Why is an LPA important?
If you should become unable to manage your own affairs, an LPA allows your attorney to step in and do this for you very easily. It also gives you the opportunity to choose the person or persons you most trust and whom you think would be most suitable to take on the task.
Without an LPA, your loved ones would not be able to deal with any transactions on your behalf. They could not pay your bills or arrange your care and they would need to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order.
This can be time-consuming and is more complicated and considerably more expensive than putting an LPA in place ahead of time. It also involves more ongoing monitoring than having an LPA.
When will an LPA be used?
A financial and property LPA can be used at any time, including while you still have capacity. This can be very useful if you need someone to deal with a financial matter for you if you cannot get to the bank or if you are overseas.
A health and welfare LPA can only be used once you have lost capacity.
When should I make an LPA?
It is never too soon to make an LPA. Once you have signed it, it can be registered and does not need to be used until you require help. That day may never come, but if it does, you and your family have the reassurance of knowing that you have made adequate plans.
If you wait until you have problems, you could find that it is too late. Once you lose mental capacity, you will no longer be able to make an LPA.
By putting an LPA in place while you are fit and well, you can rest assured that you have done all you can to secure your future and make it as easy as possible for your loved ones to help you if you need it.
If you would like to speak to one of our expert estate planners, ring us on 01634 353 658 or email us at [email protected]