Planning for Life - Beat the Crowds to a LPA
As a society we are living longer and, as a result of this, a growing number of people are now suffering from illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Dementia. Alison Elwess, senior solicitor, looks at how Lasting Powers of Attorney can help.
As a society we are living longer and, as a result of this, a growing number of people are now suffering from illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Dementia. However, despite this; many people have not yet made Lasting Powers of Attorney ("LPAs"), appointing individuals to manage their property and financial affairs and health and welfare matters should they find themselves affected by such an illness.
The Government is so concerned by this, that it has made plans for a 'Life Planning Day' in 2015 to promote awareness and take-up of LPAs. So, what exactly are Lasting Powers of Attorney?
An LPA is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) choose people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA:
- LPA for property and financial affairs
- LPA for health and welfare matters
You can choose to make one type of LPA only, or you can elect to make both.
An attorney for property and financial affairs can make any decision that you could make about your property and financial affairs, for example: running bank accounts, buying or selling property, managing investments or carrying on a business and may access your personal information. Once registered, a property and financial affairs LPA can be used by your attorney(s) whilst you have mental capacity (this can be useful if you suffer an injury and are unable to visit the bank) and also, after you have lost mental capacity.
Conversely, once registered, a health and welfare matters LPA can only be used by your attorney(s) when you are incapable of making decisions for yourself. An attorney for health & welfare matters can make decisions about your day to day care, where you should live and certain medical treatments.
The Office of the Public Guardian - the organisation that registers and oversees LPAs - is already very busy. It currently receives 2,000 LPA registration applications per day, with the average registration application taking 14 weeks to complete.
The Government's 'Life Planning Day' is likely to generate substantial interest in LPAs. This is likely to increase the number of LPA registration applications, which will further stretch the Office of the Public Guardian. What this means, is that registration applications could take longer than 14 weeks to complete. So, if you want to ‘beat the crowds’, we would recommend that you consider preparing and registering LPAs now.