A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives you and your loved one’s peace of mind that should the worst happen and you lose the ability, physically or due to mental incapacity, to manage your affairs, you have a plan in place for your finances and care.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint a person or persons, known as Attorneys, to help you make decisions or make decisions on your behalf should you become incapable of doing so yourself.
The benefits of a Lasting Power of Attorney
Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney ensures that should you ever lose the ability to make your own decisions, whether by increasing age, failing eyesight or hearing, an accident or through illness, you still have a way of controlling what happens to you. You will be able to choose someone you trust to take over your financial or care decisions and discuss with them your wishes should the worst happen. You can also set limits on the amount of control they have. Having a registered Lasting Power of Attorney also helps your loved ones avoid potentially long and expensive legal processes as they may otherwise need to apply for power to deal with your affairs by application to the Court of Protection.
The Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney that cover two different aspects of your life. These are:
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
As the name suggests, the Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers decisions relating to your financial Estate. How much control your Attorney has is up to you as you can restrict the types of decisions they make, or you can allow them to make any and all necessary decisions. Such decisions can include:
- Buying and selling property
- Paying the mortgage
- Managing bank accounts
- Maintenance and upkeep of property
This power can be used at your direction if you are physically unable to deal with your affairs, but still have mental capacity to understand what you are doing, but also if you lose capacity.
Health and Welfare LPA
The Health and Welfare LPA involves your health, care and wellbeing and is used should you lose your mental capacity to make your own health and welfare decisions. Your Attorney will be able to make decisions relating to issues such as:
- Where you live
- The medical care you receive
- Your daily routine
- Who will be allowed to visit you
- Life sustaining measures and treatments
How to make a Lasting Power of Attorney
Step 1 – Find a Private Client solicitor
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is an important process and it is highly advisable to consult an experienced solicitor. Your solicitor will be able to help and advise you on your decisions and ensure that you understand the consequences of your actions. They will also handle all the legal processes on your behalf so you can be sure your Lasting Power of Attorney is valid. Although it is possible to make the powers on-line an experienced solicitor will be able to advise you as to what powers, or restrictions, should be included in the power.
Step 2 - Choose your Attorney or Attorneys
Your Attorney can be anyone over the age of 18 and who has the required mental capacity to make decisions. They can be a relative, friend, spouse or you can choose a professional, such as your solicitor. If you appoint more than one Attorney, you will need to consider whether they are to make decisions together or separately.
Step 3 – Make your Lasting Power of Attorney
Your solicitor will walk you through how to make an Lasting Power of Attorney and advise on what you need to include. They will also ensure it is witnessed and signed correctly and registered with the relevant authorities. You can change or revoke your LPA at any time as long as you have the mental capacity to do so.
Anderson Rowntree LLP is a leading law firm in West Sussex and our experienced Private Client solicitors are here to guide you through the entire process of making a Lasting Power of Attorney, from planning what to include to ensuring you have chosen the right Attorney. To get started, call your local Anderson Rowntree LLP office today.