A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is becoming increasingly important as almost all of us will be affected by issues surrounding mental capacity in some way during our lifetimes, either personally or through a family member or friend.
If you were to become incapable of managing your own finances and personal welfare, an LPA allows you to make provisions in advance of deterioration of health to ensure that your affairs are properly dealt with by someone you trust. The LPA provides you with security that you have chosen someone who is capable of making decisions on your behalf.
WHAT IS A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY?
An LPA is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf when you no longer have capacity to do so. This provides you with more control over what happens to things such as your finances or health if, for example you were to become unwell or have an accident at some point in the future and can’t make decisions on your own behalf (you ‘lack mental capacity’).
There are two types of LPAs, a Property & Financial Affairs LPA and a Health & Welfare LPA:-
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your Attorney or Attorneys to make decisions on a range of financial matters and deal with property on your behalf, such as:
- Day to day management of bank and other financial accounts
- Paying bills
- Collecting benefits or a pension
- Buying and selling property
- Making investments
A Health and Welfare LPA gives your Attorneys the power to make decisions for you in a broad number of areas, such as:
- Your daily routine e.g. dressing, washing and eating
- Where you should live and who you should live with
- Medical care
- Consenting or refusing to life sustaining treatment
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU LOSE CAPACITY AND DO NOT HAVE A POWER OF ATTORNEY IN PLACE?
In the absence of an LPA, if you were to lose capacity, then there is a different process to follow by which someone can apply to the Court of Protection to be made a Deputy to act on your behalf. The application is a Deputyship Order and the process can be both lengthy and costly, with the initial application costs along with annual fees being paid to the Court of Protection whilst the deputy is acting. The main problem can come when someone suddenly becomes incapacitated, with an LPA once registered it can be used instantly as opposed to the need to appoint a Deputy which can take considerable time. In a situation such as this there is often an acute need for financial support whether that be to pay for treatment or simply to continue to fund living costs but unfortunately without an attorney being appointed the banks will simply not release funds until a Deputy is appointed.
How we can help
An LPA is an important part in planning for your future and it is therefore important that you seek professional guidance and legal advice from a solicitor when doing so. Bromleys’ team of experts are able to take you through the process to guarantee a service that is tailored specifically to your needs. Please contact Bromleys on 0161 330 6821 to arrange your free telephone discussion. If you prefer, you can fill in our online form or alternatively, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll call you back.
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