Powers of Attorney
When planning for the future we hardly ever think about the possibility of becoming unable to look after our own finances or health because of physical or mental incapacity, at no matter what age.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which allows for a loved one or trusted person (or more than one person) to become appointed as your attorney so they are able to help make those decisions on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so for yourself.
There are two types of LPAs:
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA, which allows your attorney to deal with things like:
- Managing your bank accounts
- Paying household bills
- Selling your home
A Health and Welfare LPA, which allows your attorney to make decisions only when you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself. These decisions include:
- Medical Care
- Health Routines
- Moving or choosing the right care home
- Life-sustaining treatment
Registering Lasting Powers of Attorneys:
Your LPA must be signed when you are mentally capable of doing so and can then only be used after it is registered with the Office of Public Guardian. It is therefore important to draft and sign an LPA at the earliest opportunity you have to avoid difficulties at a time when it needs to be used.
Making an LPA does not restrict your right to control your affairs for as long as you feel able. The power runs parallel to your own right to deal with your assets and to make decisions by yourself.
Choosing your attorneys:
An LPA is a very important document, so when choosing an attorney you need to be completely confident you have picked the right person or people. You need to choose people you trust completely, who are aged over 18, and who have appropriate skills to make the proposed decisions. If you appoint more than one attorney, you can appoint them to always act together (jointly) or together and separately (jointly and severally). You may even appoint them to act jointly for some things and jointly and severally for others.