Lasting Power of Attorney
As time goes on – whether it’s due to an illness, accident or simply old age – many of us can be left unable to manage our finances and make important decisions ourselves.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) provides you with the option of having a representative to make such important decisions for you, should you lack the ‘mental capacity’ to do so yourself later on in life.
At Quick Wills, we are available to help provide you with all the guidance that you require with regards to a lasting power of attorney – simply give us a call or complete our short contact form today.
What is lasting power of attorney?
Power of attorney essentially gives someone – typically a close friend, relative or solicitor – the right to make decisions on your behalf, taking the burden of bills, finances, organising healthcare, etc. away from you, should you ever become mentally unable to do so yourself.
In legal terms, a lasting power of attorney is defined as a legal document that allows you (the ‘donor’) to name one or more individuals (‘attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf, or at least help you in making those decisions if you are unable to.
The main purpose of an LPA is simply to give you more control over the important decisions that affect your life through your representative, who will work with your best interests at heart if, at some point, you lose the mental capacity to deal with your own affairs.
Who can be an attorney?
You should consider who you choose as an attorney carefully, due to the large amount of responsibility that the role entails.
Your attorney must be over 18-years-old and most donors tend to opt for relatives, friends, partners or professional solicitors to deal with their affairs. The individual(s) must agree to become your attorney, and you should only ask them if you feel that they would be able to deal with the pressure of managing your finances, healthcare and so on.
Who you choose as an attorney depends on your personal situation, but we are on hand at Quick Wills to advise you on the best options available to you.
Who can make a lasting power of attorney?
In order to make an LPA, you must be over 18-years-old and be able to make your own decisions – i.e. have the mental capacity to choose your own attorney.
By creating a power of attorney while you’re still of sound mind and body allows you to rest assured that if you are ever unable to handle your own affairs, someone reliable and trustworthy of your choice will be able to take control easily.
Types of lasting power of attorney (LPA)
A power of attorney can be temporary, in order to cover things like short-term illnesses, or it can be permanent, for degenerative conditions or critical injuries.
There are two main types of LPA:
- Health and Welfare
- Property and Financial Affairs
At the time of making a lasting power of attorney in England and Wales, you are able to choose one or both types, depending on your personal preference.
Health and welfare lasting power of attorney
A Health and Welfare LPA allows an attorney to make choices about the donor’s daily life – including routines such as cleaning, eating, and so on.
It also provides an attorney with the power to make choices regarding the donor’s medical and health care, whether sheltered accommodation or a care home is needed, as well as more difficult decisions concerning life-sustaining treatment.
This type of LPA can only be enforced when the donor lacks the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
Property and financial affairs LPA
This type of lasting power of attorney allows your attorney to make decisions about your finances and properties, such as bills, benefits, pensions, bank accounts and houses.
Unlike the Health and Welfare LPA, the Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be done even if you still have the mental capacity to make your own decisions, as long as you agree to it.
With your permission, the Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used as soon as it’s registered.
How to make a lasting power of attorney
The first step of the lasting power of attorney process is choosing an attorney. Your attorney must be over 18-years-old and can be a relative, friend, professional solicitor or a partner.
You should consider the following when choosing an attorney:
- How well do they handle their own affairs, such as finances?
- Do you completely trust them to make decisions in your best interest?
- How happy will they be to make critical decisions for you?
If you choose more than one attorney, you (the donor) can determine how the decisions are made by them – either ‘jointly’ or ‘jointly and severally’.
When decisions must be made ‘jointly’, the attorneys must agree on everything and they will not be able to act on your behalf if they do not agree on something.
If you choose to appoint attorneys on a ‘jointly and severally’ basis, they are able to make decisions on their own and with the other attorneys.
Once you have chosen your attorney(s), we will then be able to guide you in the next step of the process, which involves legal forms and paperwork.
Our partnered solicitors will guide you as you complete a lasting power of attorney form in order to officially appoint the chosen people as your attorneys.
When the forms are complete, we then help you legally register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian, as required by UK law.
Lasting power of attorney guidance
For professional and expert advice regarding which type of LPA is best for your situation and how you should go about choosing the right attorney, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today by calling us or completing our short contact form, obligation-free.Get in touch