A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you (the donor) to appoint up to four people to act as your attorneys to either help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA:
The important point to note is that your attorneys will only act on your behalf if you want them to or if you lose capacity and you need them.
You can chose anyone over the age of 18 to act as your attorney they can either be family, friends, professionals or a mixture of all of these. It’s imperative that you trust your attorneys as they will have the authority to make any decision that you would normally make and/or sign any document that you would sign. You can appoint your attorneys to act either jointly or jointly and severally.
The LPA needs to be registered with the Office of Public Guardian before your attorneys can use it. The registration process can take up to two months providing there are no issues with the document. I always advise my clients to register it immediately so that it is ready to be used should it be required. Furthermore, if there are any issues with the document and you have lost mental capacity, the document could be declared void and therefore fail.
If an LPA hasn’t been prepared and the donor has lost capacity then an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection so they can appoint a suitable person to manage your affairs, known as a deputy. This a more complex and timely process than preparing an LPA and the deputy will be governed by the Court of Protection, have to submit an annual report and will have to obtain the Court’s consent to make any significant decisions.
Anyone who has capacity can make an LPA and I strongly recommend that a solicitor is instructed. A solicitor will ensure you fully understand the nature and effect of the LPA and that you have considered all the options available to you.