Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to choose people you trust to make decisions on your behalf about your property and affairs or your personal welfare should you become physically or mentally incapable of doing so.
There are two types of LPA: a Property and Affairs LPA (which has replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney, although any EPA signed before October 2007 remains valid) and a Personal Welfare LPA, which is a new type of power available.
Property and Affairs LPA
A Property and Affairs LPA is used to appoint one or more people, the attorneys, to manage your financial affairs and property on your behalf should you become physically or mentally incapable of doing so. It allows your attorneys to:
- Sign cheques and withdraw money from your bank and building society accounts
- Buy or sell shares
- Sell or purchase a house for you
- Use your assets to finance residential or nursing care fees
- Make investments on your behalf
Your Attorneys must follow the conditions laid out in the LPA when exercising their power, and any decisions they make must be made in your best interests.
Why should you make a Property and Affairs LPA?
An LPA is not just for the elderly, if you are over 18 years of age, you should consider making one. If you have investments, shares or property in your sole name, your spouse or civil partner will not have any legal right to access these accounts in the event of you being unable to deal with your finances. If you do not have an LPA in place and you lose your mental capacity, it will be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputy Order, which is a costly and lengthy process.
Personal Welfare LPA
A Personal Welfare LPA is a new type of power that allows you to appoint attorneys to make decisions about your healthcare and welfare when you lack the capacity to do so. You have a few options in deciding how you would like this to be done:
- You can give your attorneys complete freedom to make decisions relating to your personal welfare such as your day-to-day care, including diet, dress and medical treatment.
- You can apply restrictions or conditions to the Power, such as only particular decisions being taken about your care or medical treatment, or a particular person being consulted before making certain decisions.
- You can allow your attorneys to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment (this authority would override a valid Living Will or Advance Directive).
Who can be your Attorney?
An Attorney can be your spouse, civil partner, child, parent, sibling, friend or even your solicitor, but they must be over 18 years old, have mental capacity and be someone that you really trust. There are, however, safeguards in place to protect you.
Before your LPA can be used, it must be certified by at least one independent third party and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It can then be used straight away or stored until it is needed.
We suggest making an LPA now, as it provides peace of mind and can be used immediately once ready.
Our team of specialists can sit down and discuss your situation, helping you to select the option to suit your requirements.