A general power of attorney is not an effective provision because it becomes invalid if you lose your mental capacity. The Court of Protection has power to appoint people to manage your affairs; however, the procedure can be costly and time-consuming. More importantly, you will have lost the right to choose who will have the responsibility for looking after your affairs, at a time when it is vital that they are dealt with efficiently and sympathetically.
Until 1 October 2007, it was possible to appoint someone to safeguard your interests and to act on your behalf, in respect of your financial affairs by an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). This remains valid even after the individual granting the power becomes mentally incapable.
However, an EPA enabled an attorney to deal only with financial affairs. In addition, it was felt that the relatively simple procedures could result in the system being abused. Therefore, a more complex and robust system was introduced to enable attorneys to be appointed not only to look after person’s financial affairs, but to also make decisions on their behalf relating to health and welfare issues. These types of document are known as Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document to cover the situation in the future where you may lose, or begin to lose, your mental capacity so that you become incapable of dealing with your own financial affairs, or health and welfare issues. A Lasting Power of Attorney gives you the opportunity to select, whilst you are still able to do so, the people that you want to take care of your affairs for you.
At the time the power is given, you must be capable of understanding its nature and effect for it to be valid. There are two different types of LPA:
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
This type of LPA allows your attorney to deal with your property and financial affairs. The power given to your attorney can be wide-ranging and could include: the collecting of your pension and any other benefits, dealing with your bank and any investments you have, paying bills, completing tax returns and even buying or selling property on your behalf.
Health and Welfare LPA
Relates to your personal welfare and gives your attorney the power to handle on your behalf; for instance, the move into a residential care home, making decisions regarding your medical treatment and, if you choose, you can even give your attorney the power to consent or refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf.
To be valid, an LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. At Amphlett Lissimore, we can help with all aspects of creating an LPA - from choosing an attorney and deciding what type of LPA is right for you, to correctly registering the documentation.