A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to nominate one or more people to help you with making decisions about important issues if you lose the capacity to do so yourself in the future.
An LPA will therefore commonly be used where you have reason to be concerned that you might lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself in the foreseeable future or lose the ability to communicate those decisions. However, it is worth bearing in mind that a loss of mental capacity can happen to anyone at any time and an LPA will allow you to choose who manages your affairs in these circumstances. It will also prevent extra worry and complications for those you care about at an already difficult time.
Particular situations where an LPA should certainly be considered include where you have been diagnosed with the early stages of a chronic neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's, which is expected to worsen over time. An LPA may also be worth considering if your profession carries significant risks to your health, such as if you are in the armed forces or work for a fire and rescue service.
To make a Lasting Power of Attorney, you must be over 18 and be deemed to have sufficient mental capacity to make your own decisions. Your LPA will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, which can take up to 10 weeks. Once the LPA is registered, your attorneys can begin acting for you straightaway if required.
Types of Lasting Power of Attorney
There are two different kinds of Lasting Power of Attorney. Which you may need will depend on your circumstances, so it is strongly advised to take legal advice as soon as possible when thinking about creating an LPA, so you can be sure you have the right kind of protection in place.
The two types of LPA are:
Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney – Covering decisions about issues such as your medical care, moving you to a care home and providing life-sustaining treatment, as well as day-to-day issues, such as your diet and clothing.
Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney – Covering decisions about money and property, for example managing your bank account and savings, paying bills, collecting your pension and other income, and selling your home if required.
What if a loved one has already lost the capacity to manage their affairs?
If a loved one has already lost the capacity to manage their affairs and they have not created a Lasting Power of Attorney, you will usually need to apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy for your loved one.
Becoming a Court of Protection deputy can give you the authority to help your loved one make important decisions about their health, welfare and financial affairs, or make these decisions for them where necessary.
There are two types of Court of Protection deputyship:
Property & financial affairs deputies can assist with or make decisions about a person’s finances and their home, for example paying bills, receiving their pension and deciding if their home needs to be sold.
Personal welfare deputies can assist with or make decisions about a person’s medical treatment and other types of care. A personal welfare deputy is normally only required where there are concerns about someone’s best interests being protected or a decision is needed about a specific issue, such as where a person without capacity will live.
Unfortunately the cost of managing someone’s affairs through the Court of Protection are usually much higher than the cost of a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Get expert advice for Lasting Powers of Attorney
Bird & Co Solicitors is a long-established law firm supporting individuals and families with all aspects of Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection deputyship.
To speak to our expert Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors, please call 01476 404109 or use our contact page to find details of your nearest office.