Lasting Power of Attorney
An ever increasing number of people are choosing to create Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) to provide protection should an accident or illness prevent them from making decisions in the future.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables another person (your Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf.
What does a Lasting Power of Attorney cover?
There are two types:
Property and Finance
For managing your money and bills, opening and closing bank accounts, maintaining or selling your property and making investments. Your Attorney(s) can use this Lasting Power of Attorney on your behalf as soon as it is registered, even while you can still make your own decisions, unless you put a restriction in the Lasting Power of Attorney. Many people find this useful when they become housebound, or have a prolonged stay in hospital.
Health and Welfare
This can ONLY be used if you lose capacity to make decisions about your health and welfare. Your Attorney(s) can have the authority to decide where you live, day to day decisions about personal welfare and more significant decisions about care and life sustaining treatment.
You have the power to:
- Choose who you want to be your Attorney and how many Attorneys you want
- Decide how you would like them to act and give them written guidance (if you want to)
- Limit the Attorney(s) power if there is anything you DO NOT want them to decide OR allow them to make all decisions on your behalf
Who can be an Attorney?
An Attorney can be anyone over 18 who has the mental capacity to make decisions for example:
- your husband, wife or partner
- a relative
- a friend
- a professional, eg a solicitor
Decide who you would like to appoint as Attorney. You can choose more than one person.
Decide on the powers you would like to give your Attorney(s)
Complete the Lasting Power of Attorney documentation including who should be notified when the Application is registered.
The Lasting Power of Attorney must be signed by a certificate provider who confirms that you understand it and have not been put under any pressure to sign it. This must be someone you know well or a professional person such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor.
The Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. There is a registration fee payable which is reduced if you qualify for an exemption or reduction.
What happens if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you lose the capacity to manage your own affairs or take decisions on your own behalf and have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney then:
- Your assets may be frozen – no one will have the legal authority to access them
- An Application will need to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to manage your financial affairs. This is a much more expensive and lengthy process than creating a Lasting Power of Attorney and you could end up with a Deputy that you would never have chosen yourself!
- Significant decisions about your health and welfare may be taken by care professionals, rather than family or friends who know your preferences
Our Care team can support and advise you on all aspects of creating Lasting Powers of Attorney from choosing an attorney and deciding what type of Lasting Power of Attorney is right for you to correctly registering the documentation with the Office of the Public Guardian.
These are some of the words and terms you may encounter:
A person appointed under a Lasting Power of Attorney. An Attorney has the legal right to make decisions on behalf of the Donor as long as those decisions are within the scope of their authority.
A person who makes a Lasting Power of Attorney to appoint a person to manage their assets or to make health and welfare decisions.
Court of Protection
The Court of Protection is a specialist court for all issues relating to people who lack capacity to make specific decisions.
Office of the Public Guardian
The Office of the Public Guardian is a Government department sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. It is responsible for supervising and keeping registers of Deputies, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney and investigating complaints about Deputies and Attorneys.
We also have a dedicated Court of Protection team who have a wealth of experience in dealing with Applications and can guide and support families through this process.
We provide reassuring advice to clients and their families and will meet regularly at people’s own homes, Care homes or hospitals in order to ensure you are kept informed throughout.
If you would like to find out more or to book an appointment for a free initial consultation, please give one of our experts a call today on 01926 491181.