Lasting Power of Attorney FAQs
- AuthorRita Malhi
Living in these uncertain times makes the need to get your affairs in order even more important. Who would have predicted the pandemic that took over our lives almost twelve months ago would still be restricting our day to day movements?
We all know how important it is to make a will, but what about a Lasting Power of Attorney? Here are answers to some of the most common questions I get asked by both clients and their loved ones on a regular basis, to help you make the right decision for you and your family:
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is prepared by you to appoint someone (your Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf if, in the future, you can no longer do so due to mental incapacity, such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s, or because of physical incapacity such as an accident, stroke or ill health.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be prepared about your property and financial affairs, and health and care decisions.
A Property & Financial Affairs LPA can be effective both when you have mental capacity and also when you do not.
Why should you prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can be used by your Attorney to make decisions on your behalf in the following examples:
- Buying and selling property
- Paying bills
- Dealing with Investments
- Collecting benefits and pensions
The Health & Care Lasting Power of Attorney covers decisions your Attorney can make for you such as:
- Where you should live
- Your medical care
- Future care needs
- Decision to receive the Covid-19 Vaccine
Under a Health & Care Lasting Power of Attorney you can also give authority for your attorney to make decisions about life sustaining treatment. A Health & Care Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once you cannot make your own decisions.
How will a Lasting Power of Attorney benefit me or a loved one?
I frequently advise clients that a Lasting Power of Attorney document is a “safeguard” that offers protection to you and your loved ones.
LPAs should not be thought of as a document required for an “elderly” person with the onset of Dementia, but more as an essential document for those of all ages.
In the present restrictive conditions where you or a loved one may be confined to their homes, a Property & Financial Affairs LPA may be required so that your attorney can pay your bills or withdraw money on your behalf.
If you don’t have an LPA in place and decisions need to be made about you, there is no automatic authority given to your spouse, partner, family members or friends.
If financial decisions have to be made for you and you do not have mental capacity then an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed. This can be a lengthy and more costly process and the decisions of who can manage your finances is ultimately decided by the court and may not be your preferred choice.
If decisions about your health needs are to be made without a Health & Care Lasting Power of Attorney, decisions about your health will be made by what other people consider to be in your “best interests.” These decisions may be made by individuals who you may not have discussed your wishes with.
There is a requirement for both types of LPA to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used. You can prepare either one or both of the LPA documents to suit your needs.
The way in which your appointed attorney can act, the authority and/or restrictions given to your attorney under either document is decided by you. We are happy to talk you through the process of preparing the document and offer guidance to you in helping you choose your attorney where required.
If you wish to discuss preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney for yourself or a loved one, or have any queries or questions about a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact an expert member of our Trusts and Estates Team who will be able to assist you further. Email Rita Malhi or call us on 0800 118 1500 to find out how we can help you today.