Lasting Powers of Attorney FAQs

 

What are Lasting Powers of Attorney? 

A Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) is a legal document which allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. There are 2 types: one for financial decisions and one for health and welfare decisions.

A Financial Decisions LPA would give your chosen attorneys power to make decisions about your money and property. It would allow them to do things like access your bank account, pay your bills and sell your house.  With your permission this type of LPA can be used as soon as it is registered, even if you are still able to make your own decisions.

A Health and Welfare LPA would give your attorneys power to make decisions about issues such as your daily care (washing, dressing, eating etc.), what medical treatment you receive (including life-sustaining treatment) and your living arrangements. This type of power can only be used if you no longer have capacity to make your own decisions.

Who should make them? 

All adults should consider putting LPAs in place. Provided you are over the age of 18, have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) and have not been put under any undue pressure, you can make an LPA.

Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

There are lots of reasons why you could want to make an LPA. You may need temporary assistance (e.g. if you were hospitalised and needed help with day to day things like paying bills). Or you may need to consider long term planning (e.g. if you were diagnosed with dementia and anticipated needing ongoing help in the future). Whilst it is good that we are all generally living longer, the downside is that mental health problems are likely to affect more of us in later life. 

However, it is important to remember that LPAs are not just for the elderly. Sadly, mental and physical incapacity can affect any of us at any point in our lives and it is important to make provision early enough to prevent problems later down the line.

What happens if you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

If you failed to make LPAs and subsequently lost capacity, your loved ones would have no legal authority to assist you. The banks would not allow them access to your money to pay your bills and, if issues arose regarding your health or medical treatment, your family’s wishes could be overruled. This could leave you all in a vulnerable position.

The only option available to your family would be for an application to be made to the Court of Protection to obtain the Court’s permission to help you. There are different types of applications, depending on the circumstances, the most common being the appointment of a Financial Deputy who can manage your property and financial affairs.

Court of Protection applications can be lengthy and costly, and are avoidable if you plan ahead.

 

For more information enquire now or call 0161 785 3500 to speak with one of our specialist solicitors.