Many of us worry that as we grow older we may become ill and unable to deal with our own affairs. Should this happen to you then your family would be left with a distressing problem, the only solution to which is lengthy and expensive proceedings in the Court of Protection. To avoid this happening and to ensure peace of mind for yourself and your family you should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
An LPA is a legal document which allows a person (the Donor) to give someone else (the Attorney) authority to make decisions about the Donor’s property and affairs and/or the Donor’s personal welfare.
There are two types of LPA:
- A Property and Affairs LPA which deals with the Donor’s property and financial affairs if they lack the capacity to do so themselves or wish for some assistance. This would include dealing with bank and building society accounts, shares etc, and
- A Personal Welfare LPA by which an Attorney may make health and social care decisions on behalf of the Donor at a time in the future when the Donor becomes mentally incapable of making those decisions him/herself. These may include choosing a nursing home and even accepting or refusing medical treatment on the Donor’s behalf.
The Donor must have mental capacity when the LPA is created and must fully understand the implications of the document. A certificate is required to confirm this, which must be signed by someone other than the Donor (usually a solicitor.)
Once signed the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
LPAs have replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) which can no longer be created, although EPAs created before 1 October 2007 remain valid and can continue to be used.
Who can be appointed as Attorney?
The Attorney must be an individual over the age of 18. It is possible to appoint more than one Attorney to either act together or to act independently of each other, and/or to appoint a replacement Attorney. An attorney appointed in a Property and Affairs LPA cannot be bankrupt. Most people usually choose a spouse or partner, an adult son or daughter, a professional adviser or a combination of these.
We can advise you of the implications of an LPA, prepare the documentation involved and register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. We can act as your Attorney, either alone or jointly with a family member or close friend if required. We can also act as your certificate provider.
For further information please contact: