A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint people you trust, known as your Attorneys, to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so, whether that be because you are incapacitated or lose mental capacity.
There are two of types Lasting Power of Attorney:
1. Property and Financial Affairs; and
2. Health and Welfare
What powers will my attorneys have?
Property and Financial Affairs:
Your attorney(s) can make decisions on your behalf in respect of your money and property, such as:
- Manage your bank/building society account(s)
- Manage your investments
- Pay your bills
- Buy or sell a property
- Collect your pension/benefits
- Make a benefit claim on your behalf
Your Property and Financial LPA can be used by your attorney(s) as soon as it is registered, even if you have capacity but only with your authority.
Health and Welfare:
Your attorneys make decisions about things like:
- Your daily routine
- What medical you receive
- If you have to move to a care home, what care home you go to
- Decisions about Life Sustaining Treatment, if you give your attorney(s) the authority
- A crucial thing to note, is that your Health and Welfare attorney(s) can appeal any decision relating to care fees, if you have been wrongly assessed
Your attorneys can only ever use your Health and Welfare LPA when you have lost capacity and are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
Do I need one?
Yes, most definitely! Anyone over the age of 18 can make an LPA and, we should all have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place. Not only for your own peace of mind but also for the sake of your loved ones.
Even more so, given the current pandemic. If you are vulnerable and self-shielding or isolating, you are unable to go out to do even the basic of things, like shopping, or go to bank, or even the post office to draw out funds and are probably relying on your loved ones to help out. Some have sadly been hospitalised due to COVID-19 and been unable to make decisions for themselves. Having LPAs in situations like this can make life that easier for your loved ones, as they have the peace of mind knowing that they have the legal authority to make decisions for you, should they need to.
If you appoint the right people as your attorneys, people you completely trust and that will act in your best interests, then your Lasting Powers of Attorney could last your lifetime and you will probably only ever need to make them the once.
What happens if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A lot of people are under the misconception that your spouse/partner or even your children can deal with your affairs on your behalf, if you are unable to do so but this is simply not the case. If you are unable to make decisions for yourself and do not have LPAs in place, then unfortunately your loved ones have no authority to make decisions on your behalf.
This could be problematic if you have joint assets, such as a bank account, as the bank are likely to freeze any accounts in your name including joint accounts, as they have to safe guard your interests. This could leave your spouse/partner without access to funds. Your loved ones would then have to seek a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection which can be a lengthy process and costly.
The courts could even decide to appoint independent attorneys that you would not have picked, if you had the capacity. It’s more stress for your loved ones at a time when they could do without it.
Can I make a Lasting Power of Attorney myself?
The answer is yes, you can but it is strongly advised that you seek the help of a professional. There are things in the LPA that a lay person will not know about or pick up on which would cause complications down the line, which only ever come to light when you have lost capacity. By that stage, it is too late to do anything about it and your loved ones will have to obtain a Deputyship order.
A professional’s fee is a drop in the ocean when you consider the peace of mind if gives your nearest and dearest.
Why you should update an Enduring Power of Attorney?
If you have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), you should consider updating it to Lasting Powers of Attorney? Why?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is only registered when you lose capacity, so if there is anything wrong with it, it is too late to change it. Your family will then have to obtain a Deputyship Order.
Also, an Enduring Power of Attorney does not cover Health and Welfare decisions. If you want your attorney(s) to make decisions about your care decisions then you will need to make a Health and Welfare LPA.
How can I make one?
Contact our expert private client team to arrange an initial telephone appointment to discuss your requirements. To maintain social distancing the Lasting Powers of Attorney can be completed via post/email.