Lasting Power of Attorney
Date online: 23/06/2021
Lisa Davies, Solicitor at Molesworths Bright Clegg, explains the benefits of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become unwell.
Who will win at the Oscars? How long will you live?
We can’t predict the future but we can overcome uncertainty by making a will, ensuring our wishes are carried out after our death.
How can we protect our future whilst living, though? We’re likely to live longer nowadays, which could mean losing capacity in later life and a longer period where you are incapable of making your own decisions on your health, welfare and financial affairs. You could also lose capacity at any time through accident or illness.
You might decide you no longer wish to manage your affairs and let someone else take care of them.
Like having insurance, you can prepare for the worst by appointing someone you trust to act for you under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). LPAs give your attorney power to help you to continue living, e.g. pay your bills, decide what care you need, pay for shopping etc. when you no longer have the ability or desire to do this yourself.
There are two types of LPA; one covers property and financial affairs, the other covers health and welfare. You can have the same or different attorney(s) for each LPA.
Losing capacity without having an LPA in place could mean a person needing to take charge over your finances, and sometimes health decisions, would need to apply to the Court of Protection for them to be appointed as a deputy for you. This is expensive and time consuming which would be avoided if you had an LPA in place. It could also be that the person applying to court might not be the person you would have chosen as your attorney.
The property and financial LPA allows attorney(s) to manage your bank accounts, claim your pension etc. They can also pay your bills and deal with your other affairs for you.
A health and welfare LPA allows attorney(s) to make necessary decisions regarding your care and medical treatment. Your attorney(s) would act in your best interests, consulting you when possible, carrying out your preferences and instructions and sticking to their legal responsibilities. This helps families in distressing circumstances, particularly if there could be a disagreement between family members.
LPAs must be made whilst you have mental capacity. Your solicitor will ensure you understand the consequences of drawing up an LPA and that you aren’t under any pressure or undue influence from any third party to make one.
Once your LPA(s) are completed and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, you can be certain both your financial affairs and health and welfare will be taken care of by your chosen attorney(s). Registration can be completed immediately or upon losing capacity.
For peace of mind and, provided you have capacity to do so, an LPA can be cancelled or changed at any time after registration. Molesworths Bright Clegg are able to assist in the preparation and execution of your LPA and are happy to discuss options with you.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.