Probate Solicitors Limited - Powers of Attorney
How can a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) help me?
What is an LPA?
An LPA is a legal document which allows the person or people you choose to assist you or ultimately take over decision making on your behalf. This person is known as your Attorney. You can have more than one Attorney although four is a recommended practical maximum. Your Attorney is the person who you appoint to sign on your behalf (not to be confused with the American word "Attorney" meaning lawyer).
There are two types of LPAs to consider and they have very different purposes:
A Property and Affairs LPA
This allows your chosen Attorney(s) to assist you in making decisions regarding your property and finances. If it becomes necessary, they can take over dealing with your finances on a day to day basis and even sell your property on your behalf. They can do so temporarily at your direction (e.g. if you were stuck in hospital) or permanently if you lost the capacity to make these decisions yourself.
A Health and Welfare LPA
This allows your chosen Attorney(s) to make decisions about where you live and the type of care you may need. They can only do so in circumstances where you are unable to decide yourself (e.g. in a coma). You have the option to allow your Attorney(s) to make decisions about whether you receive life sustaining treatment if you lacked capacity to make that decision yourself.
What happens if I do not have an LPA - see comparison of costs for Deputyship
Download our free PDF leaflet on Lasting Powers of Attorney
Why do I need it?
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to make the important decision, in advance, to determine who you would want to act on your behalf if the circumstances arose.
If you don’t have an LPA and you lose mental capacity, then the Court of Protection will eventually appoint someone to act on your behalf. This person is known as a Deputy. You will have no choice over who is appointed. The process is costly and lengthy and requires someone to take the initiative to apply. Typically this can take 9 months or more to complete a registration and cost over £2,000 in the first year alone. In the meantime assets may be frozen and bills left unpaid.
Whilst you have mental capacity you can change your mind. You can decide to change your appointed Attorney(s) very easily by simply revoking the document and creating a new one.
Who should get an LPA?
Everyone but particularly the elderly or infirm. We would certainly recommend that everyone over the age of 50 consider it seriously and it should be regarded as a necessity for anyone aged over 70 or in poor health. Once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, a Property and Affairs LPA can be used in a variety of circumstances, not simply because a person has lost mental capacity. For example, you become less mobile or need to enter care accommodation, your signature has become shaky and is questioned by your bank or you need to be in hospital for a period of time.
Having an LPA allows affairs to be dealt with immediately and without worry.
If you would like to help on this please contact us on 01564 758055