Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare
Who would you want to look after your affairs if you can’t do it yourself?
Have you considered who would make decisions for you if you had an accident or became seriously ill? It is not something you want to contemplate, but it 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. Just because someone is your spouse or child does not mean that they have the automatic right to deal with your affairs on your behalf.
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 people you trust are able to make decisions for you, in the way you want, when it is needed.
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 if 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 advisor. He or she must consider your best interests when making a decision on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA:
(1) 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.
(2) 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 life sustaining treatment.
The importance of acting 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 over your affairs 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.
Choosing your attorneys
Any type of power of attorney is an important document and an LPA is no exception. You should take care over 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 act together.
You may 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 the Public Guardian.
Read more advice on LPAs through our articles linked to this important topic: