Lasting Power of Attorney

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Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document to appoint one or more people to act on your behalf should you lose mental capacity.

You can only set up a Lasting Power of Attorney while you still have the ability to make decisions for yourself. Therefore, it is worth putting one in place as early as possible, we never know if an accident is around the corner.

It is a completely separate document to your Will, as it is used during your lifetime, although many people will register them at the same time as their Will to ensure they are fully protected for the future.

What if I lose mental capacity and don’t have an LPA?

Some people believe their next of kin can automatically make decisions on their behalf, but this isn’t true and can lead to complications later on. Even spouses do not have automatic approval to make decisions in regard to your finances and health.

Decisions may have to be made through the Court of Protection, or at least the Court of Protection will appoint someone on your behalf. This will be expensive, time-consuming and possibly not the person that you would choose.

The first two years alone could cost upwards of £1,500* – a hefty fee compared to the purchase of a Lasting Power of Attorney with Registered Documents. The person is then also required to be audited annually if they were not chosen by you prior to losing capacity. They will also have to pay a fee every year which is more than the one-off cost if you were to plan today.

What are the Attorneys duties?

The person you select to act as your attorney must maintain a duty of care to you (the donor), they cannot benefit themselves and the decisions they make should be for the benefit of you.

They must keep your money and property separate from their own affairs and keep accurate accounts regarding your affairs as an attorney.

Types of Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two types of LPA documents: Property & Finance and Health & Welfare.

We would recommend having both types of LPAs to ensure that your future is secure and that married couples have mirrored LPAs as this allows them to appoint each other as well as substitutes.

Property & Financial Affairs

This LPA allows your chosen person(s) to handle your bank accounts and finances, for example:

  • managing bank or building society accounts
  • paying bills
  • collecting a pension or benefits if necessary
  • selling your home if needed

It is worth noting that even joint bank accounts can be temporarily frozen if one of the holders of that account becomes mentally incapacitated.

This type of LPA can be enacted at any time that you wish. People can struggle physically accessing banks as they age and so can decide to give control pre-loss of capacity to makes things easier.

Health & Welfare

This LPA covers you for decisions about your health and care, for example:

  • Your daily routine (washing, dressing, eating)
  • medical care
  • moving into a care home
  • life-sustaining medical treatment

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