A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document which allows you to appoint people you trust, to act as your attorney, to make decisions on your behalf. You can make either or both LPAs.
Types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
You can appoint an Attorney or Attorneys (up to 4 Attorneys) to deal with your UK property and financial assets on your behalf. This can include buying and selling property, accessing your bank account, dealing with your pension, income providers and paying bills.
You decide whether the power is to be restricted to only when you do not have mental capacity to deal with your finances yourself. Alternatively, an unrestricted power would enable your Attorney to deal with matters for you, if you retained mental capacity but were perhaps not mobile as a result of an accident or maybe living in a care home or such like. Your Attorney would continue to have the power to deal with your property and assets if you later lost mental capacity.
Health and Care
You can appoint an Attorney to make decisions regarding your health and care in the event that you do not have mental capacity to take these decisions yourself. This includes decisions about where you live, your day-to-day care such as if you need carers to assist you, along with medical treatment you receive.
You decide if your Attorney is to be able to give authority for life sustaining treatment on your behalf, which could be a simple matter of saying yes to antibiotics for pneumonia for example.
Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you have assets held in your sole name, such as bank accounts, property, shares and such like, if you lose mental capacity, someone would need to apply for a Deputy Order through the Court of Protection to be able to access your assets and assist you. This process can take over 6 months, is more costly and can leave you without access to funds whilst waiting for the Order to be made. Deputy Bond security and supervision fees also apply annual, along with ongoing reporting requirements. If there are no close relatives sometimes the Local Authority will need to appoint a Deputy for you or a Professional Solicitor is appointed when your assets are substantial.
By preparing an LPA, you decide who will be acting on your behalf if you were to lose mental capacity in the future. Having an LPA in place will also assist your family and friends as if you lose mental capacity your Attorney(s) will be able to act on your behalf immediately.
If you run a business, you may wish to appoint a separate Attorney over your business assets, from the Attorney(s) who you would wish to deal with your personal assets.
It is very rare for the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy over Health and care, except in extreme cases. Therefore, without an LPA over your health and care decisions, Medical Practitioners would look to the next of kin for decisions to be made if you did not have the mental capacity to take decisions yourself. In some cases there may be a number of next of kin members in the same priority (children / siblings) who may not always agree on matters, which can make difficult decisions harder for all concerned.
If you would like assistance in relation to the preparation of a Lasting Power of Attorney, please do not hesitate to contact our: Trusts & Estates Department on 01244 354800 or email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide specific legal advice. It should not be relied upon in the absence of specific advice given in relation to particular circumstances.