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A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so yourself. You can give instructions on what should happen to your money, health or well-being in the event of old age, illness or injury that affects your mental capacity. While a will ensures your wishes are carried out after death, a Lasting Power of Attorney is created to protect your interests during your lifetime.
What does a Lasting Power of Attorney cover?
A Lasting Power of Attorney empowers someone you trust to make important decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. There are two types of LPA:
Financial affairs: A financial LPA gives your attorney the authority to make decisions about your financial matters including paying bills, managing bank accounts, collecting benefits and pensions, making investments and selling or buying property.
Health and welfare: A health and welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about your medical treatment, social care, daily routines and life-sustaining or end-of-life treatments.
Why should I have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Without an LPA in place, your loved ones may not be able to make decisions about your finances or well-being if there comes a time when you are no longer able to do so. They would need to apply for this authority through the Court of Protection, which is often very costly and time-consuming for family members.
Signing an LPA while you are still able to do so gives you much more control over your future affairs. You can decide exactly how much control your attorney(s) should have, and reduce the likelihood of family disputes by ensuring your wishes are laid out.
How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The important thing is to act while you can still make decisions for yourself. Once you lose the ability to understand what powers you are giving away, you are no longer able to sign an LPA.
The process of setting up an LPA requires careful consideration and legal advice. There are many things to consider, including:
- Who should act as your attorney
- If you are appointing more than one attorney, whether you want them to act together or independently
- Whether you wish to appoint any alternative trustees and in what circumstances
- Your specific instructions to your attorney.
You will also need an independent Certificate Provider. This person will sign the LPA to confirm that you were not acting under duress and had the capacity to make the LPA at the time of its creation. We can sign this section for you, or you can consult a medical professional or a close personal friend who has known you for at least two years and would be willing to testify as to your capacity in Court if required.
The final step is registering the Lasting Powers of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian. Your attorneys cannot act until the LPA is registered.
In the event that no LPAs were prepared, and it is necessary to deputise on behalf of the incapacitated individual, or in fact any dealings with the Court of Protection, we offer help with deputy applications, gift applications, contested Court of Protection applications, Statutory Will applications amongst others.
As one of the UK’s leading Private Wealth teams, we can help you create and register Lasting Powers of Attorney to protect your long-term well-being and financial security. If you would like advice on this topic, please get in touch with our team.