Lasting Powers of Attorney are documents which allow you to appoint those you people you most trust to assist you with the management of your property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare if you require.
There is often a misconception that Lasting Powers of Attorney are only ever used when someone has been deemed to have lost capacity to make their own decisions. Whilst this is certainly the case in respect of a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, this is not true for Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs.
Did you know that you have the option for a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs to be used even if you still have capacity? In a time when a large proportion of us are shielding, isolating, or just simply not as confident at being out and about like we used to, then having a Lasting Power of Attorney for your Property and Financial Affairs allows your appointed attorneys to assist you with practical tasks that may not be feasible for you at the current time e.g. paying a cheque in at the bank or withdrawing money for the payment of bills.
To discuss your options and find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney please feel free to contact myself, or a member of our knowledgeable Private Client Team on 01482 300 200 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to assist.
All adults have the right to manage their own financial and personal affairs, but an accident, disability or illness can prevent us from doing so. Having an up-to-date Will in place and arranging Lasting Power of Attorney can help loved ones to make complicated decisions on our behalf if needed.
Losing mental capacity (the ability to process information and make decisions) can happen at any time. However, the risk increases as we get older. The Alzheimer's Society estimates that there could be over a million people living with dementia in 2025. Without Lasting Power of Attorney relatives or friends have to apply through to the Court of Protection to make decisions about finances and care on our behalf which can be a drawn-out, expensive process.
Many people think that their spouse will automatically be able to make decisions for them if something happens, but this is not true. Nobody can act on your behalf unless you grant them Power of Attorney. This includes accessing your bank account to pay for your day-to-day bills and healthcare needs. You can only grant Power of Attorney to somebody when you still have the mental capacity to do so.
Lockings Solicitors are experts in private client law. We can help you with all aspects of your future planning, giving you the peace of mind that your wishes are known, and that financial and practical arrangements are securely in place.
There are three different types of power of attorney:
Ordinary power of attorney
This is suitable if you need someone else to make financial decisions for you temporarily. For example, if you are staying in hospital, you are away, or you are finding it difficult to leave the house. This arrangement is only valid while you have mental capacity.
Lasting power of attorney (LPA)
An LPA only comes into effect if you lose your mental capacity or if you make the choice for others to carry out your decisions or make them for you. There are two types of LPA:
- Health and Welfare LPA
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA
You can put in place one or both of these and you can appoint different people to act as power of attorney for each if you wish.
Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about where you live, matters relating to your daily routine such as food and shopping, and the type of medical treatment you receive which includes life-sustaining treatment.
This type of LPA can only be used when you are unable to make decisions yourself.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
This enables your attorney to carry out your decision or make decisions about an array of matters regarding your bank and savings accounts, buying and selling investments on your behalf, paying your bills, and buying or selling your house.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used, with your permission, as soon as it is registered or in the event that you lose mental capacity.
Enduring power of attorney (EPA)
EPA was replaced by LPA in October 2007. However, if you made an EPA before that time it should still be valid. It comes into effect if you lose mental capacity and covers decisions about your finances and property.
Your attorney can be anybody you choose as long as they are over the age of eighteen and they are capable of making decisions. If somebody is bankrupt they may not be able to act as an attorney, and if they become bankrupt after they have been granted power of attorney it can be taken away.
Your attorney can be a relative, partner, spouse, friend or a carer. You can also choose a professional attorney such as a private client solicitor or a bank.
It is important to choose somebody you can trust as an attorney has a great deal of power and responsibility. Consider how long and how well you know the person, the degree to which you trust them, and how well they look after their own affairs. Check that the person is comfortable in taking on the role.
You can appoint more than one attorney – ‘joint attorneys’. If you do so you will need to decide whether they will make decisions ‘jointly’ which means they work together to come to every decision, or whether then can act ‘jointly and severally’ which gives them the freedom to act together or separately as they think best in each situation. You might wish to make it clear that they must act jointly for large decisions such as selling a house, but they can act ‘jointly or severally’ when reaching other decisions.
You could consider appointing a replacement attorney or attorneys in the event that one or more of your attorneys can no longer carry out the role or do not wish to do so. Reasons that an attorney might step down from the role (disclaim their appointment) could be:
- A change in their life means they can no longer act on your behalf– divorce, moving away, illness or death.
- They have become bankrupt.
- They no longer want to act as your attorney.
A replacement attorney can only take over when the original attorney disclaims their appointment permanently. They cannot step in on a temporary basis.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OGG) in order to be valid. It is a good idea to register an LPA quickly because it can take between 8 to 10 weeks to process, and if any errors are found in the application difficulties can occur if mental capacity is lost in the meantime.
When registering an LPA you have the choice to tell two or more people you know well that you’ve made an application, and write their names on the form. This is a safeguard that ensures nobody is forced into making an LPA against their will. If you decide not to do this, you will have to appoint two people (instead of one) to be Certificate Providers instead. A certificate provider is a professional who will confirm that you have complete mental capacity to register an LPA.
At Lockings Solicitors we can help you with all aspects of future planning from creating a Will to arranging Lasting Power of Attorney. We can help you to decide which type of LPA is right for you and make sure you correctly register the documentation.
If you’d like to find out more, give our private client solicitors a call today on 01482 300 200. With our free initial assessment promise you can have an initial chat free of charge and, for additional peace of mind, we also promise a same day response and no hidden costs.
Choosing to put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place allows a trusted person to act on your behalf if you’re no longer able to make decisions over your affairs due to an accident or ill health. This allows you to Be Sure that your best interests will be taken care of. Delegating authority to make decisions on your behalf does not mean your design will no longer be accounted for – an LPA only comes into effect when you are incapacitated.
Whether you’re putting safeguards in place for tomorrow’s uncertainty or you’re seeking the authority of an LPA to act on behalf of an elderly parent, we can help. There are a variety of options available for individuals and couples, depending on whether protections are needed for property and finances, health and care or both.
Take a look at our Lasting Power of Attorney options below to see which suits you best.