What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) are legal documents that allow you (the Donor) to appoint one or more Attorneys (people you know and trust) to make decisions on your behalf. Making an LPA now will ensure someone you trust can help you if you can’t help yourself in the future. You could say having an LPA is like having an insurance policy. There is an initial cost and you might never need it. But should you ever get into difficulty, it might come in really handy, saving you time and money.
There are two types of LPA:
- Property & Financial Affairs – these are used for an attorney to deal with the Donor’s financial matters and their property affairs.
- Health & Welfare –when a Donor makes a Health & Welfare LPA the attorney is able to deal with the Donor’s personal welfare and healthcare decisions.
A property and financial affairs LPA lets you choose one person or more to make decisions about money and property for you; like paying bills, collecting benefits and selling your home. This type of LPA can be used as soon as it’s registered, with your permission. A property and financial affairs LPA lets you choose whether the document can be used whilst you still have your mental capacity or it can be limited to only take effect if you lose your mental capacity.
Unlike an LPA for Property & Financial Affairs, the attorney appointed under a Health & Welfare LPA can only make decisions when the Donor does NOT have capacity to make these decisions for themselves. The Donor can grant their attorney the authority to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment, which is any treatment that a doctor considers necessary to keep an individual alive. This could be surgical, the provision of drugs, or artificial nutrition or hydration.
When should I make an LPA?
Many people believe that LPAs are only for the elderly and so they don’t need to think about making one. However, you can only make a LPA when you have your mental capacity. For example, if you sustained a brain injury as a result of an accident and no one had access to your finances then your family might be placed in a very difficult situation.
If you have lost your mental capacity and no one can access your bank accounts or sell your property to pay for care fees, then the alternative route is to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This process is very long, drawn out and expensive.
Once you have made an LPA it cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). It will remain registered until the person who has made it dies or they cancel it. The donor can cancel their LPA at any time as long as they have their mental capacity. There is also a fee payable to the OPG to register the document and this fee is currently £82.
How do I make a LPA?
If you’d like to make a Lasting Power of Attorney contact Morrish Solicitors today. Our experienced Wills, Probate & Estate Solicitors have prepared LPAs for both Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare. We offer advice and guidance with regard to both types of LPAs and the registration of the LPAs with the Office of the Public Guardian as an LPA cannot be used until it has been registered. As union members, you are entitled to a discount from our legal costs.