A lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal tool that allows you to appoint someone to make certain decisions on your behalf. – The appointed person(s) can manage your finances in the future if you reach a point where you are no longer able to do so, and can also make decisions relating to your health and welfare. – LPAs were created following the Mental Capacity Act 2005. They replaced the Enduring Powers of Attorney. – For an LPA to be used, it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Fees will apply (see below). – LPAs can be used in England and Wales. (Different laws apply in Northern Ireland and Scotland). – LPAs are used to help you to plan ahead. – There are two different types of LPA. Property and financial affairs and Health and Welfare. – You can have the same attorney(s) for both, or you can have different attorneys. – You can choose a replacement attorney if your first choice cannot or will not act on your behalf.
This allows you to choose one or more persons to make decisions in relations to: where you should live and who you should live with, your day-to-day care, including what you might eat and what you wear. Who you may have contact with. Consenting to or refusing medical examination and treatment on your behalf. Arrangements for you to be given medical, dental or optical treatment. Assessments for and the provision of community care services. Whether you should take part in social activities, leisure activities, education or training. Access to your personal correspondence and papers. Rights of access to personal information about you. This LPA can only be used when you are unable to make these decisions.
This allows you to choose one or more persons to make decisions in relation to money and property. For example: Paying bills or a mortgage · Investing money on your behalf Collecting your income or benefits Drawing money out of your bank or building society accounts Selling your home or property Arranging property repairs or maintenance
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used as soon as it is registered, with your permission. This means that should you have to spend time in a hospital or are travelling, your attorneys can act on your behalf even though you may not have lost capacity.
It can be reassuring to know that, if you are unable to make a decision for yourself in the future, your chosen attorney can make those decisions for you. Making an LPA ensures that the person you want to make those decisions for you will be able to do so. This will prevent a stranger, or someone you might not trust from having this kind of power. An LPA can reduce problems that might occur in the future. It will cost more and take longer for family and friends to try and gain similar power later. Making an LPA can help open discussions with your family or friends about your wishes in the future. LPAs help to protect you in your lifetime, whereas a Last Will and Testament comes into effect on your death. You can place conditions and restrictions onto LPAs to assist your attorneys with their decision making, and/or prevent them from having total control in others.
Your attorney should be someone you trust, such as a relative or close friend. They must be over 18 years old. They cannot be a bankrupt. You can nominate a professional, such as a solicitor or trust corporation. When making decisions, your attorney(s) must follow the rules set out in the Mental Capacity Act. This means: They must act in your best interests. They must consider your past and present wishes they cannot take advantage of you to benefit themselves they must keep their money separate from their own.
The OPG is responsible for the registration of LPAs. They work closely with the Court of Protection.
If you don’t make an LPA and become unable to make decisions for yourself, someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. This can give similar powers to that of an attorney. This process takes far longer than applying for an LPA and is far more expensive. There are ongoing requirements that a Deputy must fulfil in this case, such as paying an annual fee and submitting an annual report. It is much cheaper and easier for someone to be an attorney than a deputy.
Note: A Lasting Power of Attorney is a powerful and important legal document. If you would like to put an LPA in place, please contact us either by email or telephone where we will be happy to discuss matters further.