Lasting Power of Attorney: Everything You Need to Know
Every adult has the right to manage their own affairs, but illness, disability or an accident might mean that choice is taken away from you, if the last 12 month has shown us anything it’s that lie can be unpredictable. By putting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place you can choose the people you want to make decisions about your health and finances should a time when you are unable to do so yourself.
Did you know that by 2025 The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that over 1 million people in the UK will suffer from dementia? Despite these frightening statistics, less than 1% of the UK population has an LPA, according to the Office of the Public Guardian.
What are the types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
There are two main types of LPA:
- Health and Welfare LPA
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA
You can put both types in place, or just choose one.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows the person you have chosen (also known as your ‘attorney’) to make decisions relating to your health and daily routine. This could include deciding the type of medical treatment you receive and make choices about your day-to-day life. It is important to note that this LPA can only be used if you lose mental capacity.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used at any time, with your permission, or only in the event that you lose mental capacity. Your attorney will be able to make decisions regarding all your financial and property matters, from paying your bills to managing your investments.
Why are they important?
It’s a common misconception that a next of kin will be able to make decisions for people if they lose mental capacity, but this is not the case. If you have no LPA, your loved ones will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputy Order and the court will then get to decide who will manage your affairs. It should be noted that applying to the Court of Protection can be a lengthy and expensive process which can put further financial and emotional pressure on your loved ones. Taking the time now to put an LPA in place means the people you have chosen can help you quickly and without any hassle.
Thinking about an LPA? What should you consider
Choosing your attorney
It’s important that you choose your attorney carefully, it must be somebody you trust implicitly; they can be a friend or a family member but must be over 18 years old. If you do not have anybody suitable, you can choose a professional attorney such as a solicitor. Once you have decided, make sure you discuss the responsibilities with your chosen attorney to ensure they understand and are happy with their obligations.
Putting safeguards in place
If you feel concerned about the possibility that an attorney may abuse their power there are legal safeguards which help to prevent that. When you make your LPA it must be signed by a ‘certificate provider’ who confirms you have not been placed under pressure to create an LPA and that you have made it of your own free will. In addition to this, you can name people in your LPA who must be notified before the LPA is registered with the Office of Public Guardian (OPG).
Why use a solicitor to draw up an LPA?
If your LPA is not drawn up correctly it cannot be amended once it is registered with the OPG. Unfortunately, a whole new LPA will be required which is expensive and time consuming. Your solicitor will advise and help to minimise any risk of errors, not only will they explain how different LPAs work but also what your options are, enabling you to make the very best decision.
How QualitySolicitors can help
Our friendly private client solicitors can help you with every aspect of creating an LPA, we will take the time to answer all your questions and will only use plain, jargon-free language to make sure you understand the process fully.
To discuss your circumstances and options, speak to our team today on 08082747557
 Alzheimer’s Society, Facts for the media, https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/news-and-media/facts-media
 Office of the Public Guardian, Lasting powers of attorney – the importance of making the right choice, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/359864/opg-lpa-infographic.pdf