Sadly, it is a fact of life that there may come a point when you are unable to deal with your own affairs. Too often a lasting power of attorney (LPA) may only be considered later in life but in fact, it is a very important tool for making decisions relating to your business and personal affairs, and your health and welfare at any point in life.
An LPA gives someone that you trust the power to make certain decisions on your behalf. This is typically if you are no longer able to do so. Drawing up an LPA gives you the opportunity to decide who you would like to be able to make decisions on your behalf as your attorney.
An LPA can be made by anyone over the age of 18 at any time, provided that you have mental capacity at the time that you make it. If you lose capacity in the future, the LPA will continue to be effective.Watch our Inheritance Protection FAQs playlist on YouTube
LPA granting authority in relation to your property and financial affairs
A property and financial affairs LPA gives authority to your chosen attorneys to look after your financial affairs, such as paying your bills or speaking with government agencies on your behalf, or dealing with your property if necessary. With this type of LPA, your attorneys may act on your behalf both while you have mental capacity, and if you lose capacity in future.
LPA granting authority in relation to your health and welfare
A health and welfare LPA gives your chosen attorneys authority to make decisions regarding your health and welfare, only in the event that you have lost mental capacity. The decisions can relate to where you live or how you spend your time, and which medical treatment you receive, particularly in the event that you may require life-sustaining treatment.
We are often asking the following questions about making an LPA:
It is important to choose an attorney or attorneys that are willing, have the appropriate skills to make the decisions and are trustworthy. The same person can act on your behalf for both types of LPAs, or you can have two different people to take care of each area individually. A firm of solicitors or a trust corporation may also act as your attorney. By appointing an attorney, you will have peace of mind that if a situation does arise, your decisions will be made as you would want them to be.
It may be useful to share this guide with your proposed or appointed attorney: Guide to being an Attorney.
‘Next of kin’ is a medical term used primarily in health care settings to consider the views of family members should a decision need to be made about treatment. It does not create a legal authority to make decisions on that person’s behalf, and does not grant that person power to make all decisions that may need to be made as an LPA can do.
On 1 October 2007, LPAs replaced the old form of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA). EPAs did not require registration until you had lost capacity, and so it would most likely be the case that if you previously put an EPA in place, you will need to register it in order for it to be effective. It is of course still possible to register your EPAs with the OPG, provided that you are still happy that is represents your current wishes.
In this case, it is not possible for them to make an LPA and you will need to follow a process with the Court of Protection to become appointed as deputy instead.
A general power of attorney is usually granted for a specific period of time to grant authority to an attorney to carry out a specific task, such as signing specific documents relating to a particular transaction. They are usually limited to a period of one year and cease to be effective in the event that you lose mental capacity. We can also assist you with a general power of attorney if this is what you require.
Our Inheritance Protection team can discuss the importance of creating an LPA with you and guide you through the process to give you peace of mind.