Many people have made plans by arranging a will to deal with their property and finances upon their death. Increasingly however, many are facing issues where a loved one or they themselves have lost capacity, either through illness, brain injury or accident, and are left unable to deal with their property, affairs and even wishes around future care. A Lasting Power of Attorney can assist in planning for those times by providing authority for someone you trust to deal with financial organisations, physical, mental health and social care providers.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA for short, is a legal document that provides authority for a named person or persons (an “attorney”) to make decisions in the best interests of a person (called the “donor”).
There are two types – one that deals with property and finance and another to deal with health and welfare. The property and finance LPA gives authority to the attorney to make decisions about your home, your bank accounts and investments, pension and benefits, among other things. The health and welfare LPA allows the attorney to make decisions about things like care and treatment options including refusal of life sustaining treatment.
When can they be used?
The health and welfare LPA can only be used once it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”), and the donor has lost capacity. If you have a property and finance LPA in place, this can also be used with permission of the donor if they are physically incapacitated or need some help with financial issues, but still have mental capacity, and when they have lost mental capacity to make those decisions, once it is registered with the OPG.
When can I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA can only be made by the donor whilst they have capacity to make it. Once a person loses capacity, the process for obtaining authority for access and control of finances, property and, more rarely, health and welfare becomes lengthy and costly by making a Deputyship application to the Court of Protection. This is why making an LPA sooner rather than later can cost less and ease any worries around future planning.
Having LPAs in place can offer you peace of mind should the worst happen. If you wish to discuss drafting your LPAs, please contact Rebecca Baseley at our Leeds office.
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