A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people (your Attorney or Attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer able to, or if you no longer want to make your own decisions. You can only appoint an Attorney (or Attorneys) whilst you have the mental capacity to do so.
There are two types of LPA – Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare.
Why set up a Lasting Power or Attorney?
If you lose capacity or you’re unable to manage your own affairs, somebody would need to do this on your behalf. They would not be able to act as your Attorney if you don’t have the capacity to appoint them. Instead, they would need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order which is a long and expensive process. The Court of Protection will determine whether you are able to manage your own affairs and it will be out of your control as to who is appointed as your Deputy. In the meantime, there would be nobody to manage your affairs whilst the Deputyship application is ongoing.
By making a Lasting Power of Attorney, you will have peace of mind knowing that you are appointing somebody that you trust and that you know will act in your best interests.
Is a Lasting Power of Attorney included in my Will?
No, a Lasting Power of Attorney gives the Attorneys the power to make decisions on your behalf whilst you’re living. A Lasting Power of Attorney ends upon death. A Will is a completely separate legal document that allows you to decide what happens with your assets, money and possessions after you have passed away.
I’m married, do I still need an LPA?
Yes! If you’re married, this does not automatically give your spouse the right to manage your finances or make decisions about your care. They would need to be appointed as your Attorney to make those decisions.
When should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney ?
Sooner rather than later! Anybody over 18 years old can appoint an Attorney as long as they have mental capacity. It is not just the elderly that need a Lasting Power of Attorney.
By the time you need an LPA (usually because of lack of capacity to manage your own affairs) it is too late to apply for one. In order to make an LPA, it has to be in advance of any issues.
If you are considering making a Lasting Power of Attorney contact us at Alfred Newton Solicitors to make an appointment to answer any questions that you have and to discuss the process.
Melissa Woolham, Solicitor