For further information on making a Lasting Power of Attorney, please email our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team, call them on 01225 755656 or complete the contact form at the foot of this page.
Who would you want to look after your affairs if you couldn’t?
Have you considered who and how decisions would be made for you, if you have an accident, become seriously ill, or began to lose mental capacity?
This could happen at any stage of your life, and without warning. Everyday tasks such as managing your accounts, paying bills and maintaining your property would be difficult, as those closest to you cannot simply step in without proper authority. Decisions may need to be made about your care and treatment, and people you would wish to be involved, may be unable to make important decisions for you. By making a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can be sure that the person(s) you trust are able to make decisions for you, in the way you want, when it is needed.
“As usual Jenny Greenland was informative and friendly. She was lovely. Our granddaughter is off to university to study law. If she can get close to your standards she will be doing well. It has been a pleasure.” TK, August 2018
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which enables you to plan ahead and set out what you would like to happen should you become incapable of making decisions in the future.
You can appoint one or more ‘attorneys’ who will be able to make decisions on your behalf. They could be a family member, friend or professional adviser. He or she must consider your best interests when making a decision on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA:
- A property and financial affairs LPA. This gives your attorney the authority to deal with your property and finances, when you choose, and/or if you lack mental capacity.
- A health and welfare LPA. This allows your attorney to make health and care decisions on your behalf, if you lack mental capacity to do so yourself. This could include giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life-sustaining treatment.
Download our Factsheet: What do you need to consider when making a lasting power of attorney (LPA)?
The importance of taking action now
You can only make an LPA whilst you have mental capacity to understand the scope and extent of the power.
It is important to talk with your attorneys, whilst you are able, so that they are aware of your wishes, and know the sort of decisions you would want them to make.
“Thank you very much for your efficient and sensitive dealing with my affairs in these difficult times.” BCTK, August 2020
Choosing your attorneys
A power of attorney is an important document and you should take care who you appoint as they should be trustworthy and have appropriate skills to make the proposed decisions. In simple terms, you should consider them to be good decision makers.
If you wish to appoint more than one attorney, you must set out how you would like them to work together.
You may also choose to appoint a replacement to your original attorney, in case he or she dies or cannot otherwise act for you.
When can the attorney act?
Before the attorney can act, the LPA, must be signed, and registered with the Office of Public Guardian.
The property and financial affairs LPA can be used when you have capacity to act (unless you limit this), and if you lack mental capacity to make financial decisions.
The health and welfare LPA can only be used if you lack mental capacity to make a health or welfare decision for yourself.
Existing enduring powers of attorney (EPA)
If you made an EPA before 1st October 2007, it can still be used in respect of your property and financial affairs. You may wish to make a health and welfare LPA, to cover care and treatment decisions.
What happens if you have not made an LPA or EPA?
If you lose capacity and have not made an LPA (or have not made an EPA), then it may become necessary for a relative, friend, social services or other professional to apply to the Court of Protection, to be appointed to make decisions on your behalf. You could potentially have somebody making decisions for you, who you would not have chosen. It could even be someone you do not know and not necessarily a family member.
Getting a Court order can take months and is costly, adding stress to those closest to you. To avoid this, we recommend that you make an LPA