Lasting Powers of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you to choose someone, known as an attorney, to make decisions on your behalf if you were unable to do so yourself (if you ‘lacked mental capacity’). An LPA allows you to have more control over what would happen to you if you had an accident or an illness that prevented you from making your own decisions. There are two types of LPA, one which deals with financial affairs and one which deals with health and welfare.
Health and Welfare
The Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions regarding your health and your welfare. This can include: –
- Consenting to medical treatment;
- Making decisions about your daily routine such as diet and exercise;
- Deciding where care should be provided e.g., at home or in a residential care home
- The Health and Welfare LPA can only be used if you cannot make decisions for yourself.
Property and Financial Affairs
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about your money and property, this includes:-
- Paying your bills
- Managing your bank or building society accounts
- Managing investments
- Making sure you are receiving the correct benefits/pension entitlement
- Selling your property
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA can either be limited so that it can only be used when you are unable to make decisions for yourself, or you choose for it to be used straight away with your consent.
When can a Lasting Power of Attorney be used?
An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. The Property and Financial Affairs LPA may be limited to when you do not have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions). There is a registration fee of up to £82.00 to register the LPA, the registration fee is dependent upon your income/entitlement to means tested benefits.
What happens if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?
In the event a financial decision was needed, if you do not have an LPA and you were no longer able to make your own decisions, it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection to allow someone to make the decision on your behalf. Applications to the Court of Protection are time consuming and can be costly.
If a decision was needed regarding your health and welfare and you were not able to make the decision yourself, it is likely that medical/care professionals would consult with your family. However, without an LPA your specific wishes regarding care or treatment may not be met.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) are documents which were used prior to 2007 to appoint an attorney to deal with your financial affairs. Provided that they were prepared prior to 1st October 2007 and were validly executed at the time, they can still be used. EPAs must be registered prior to their use; we are able to assist you and dealing with the registration formalities.
EPAs only allow your attorney to deal with financial matters, therefore if you wanted to appoint someone to make decisions about your health and welfare, you would have to make a Health and Welfare LPA.