Why should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you were struck by illness in the form of Alzheimers or dementia, who would handle your finances and day to day affairs?
A proactive way of planning ahead for this situation is by making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) while you have mental capacity. This is a useful legal document that gives another person (the Attorney) the power to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so. It protects you if your health deteriorates and lessens the strain on your loved ones should the unexpected happen.
What does it cover?
There are two types of LPA:
Property and Financial Affairs
This LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions which relate to your property and affairs, so this could be paying bills, collecting benefits or other income, or even selling the Donor’s house if you need to go into care (subject to conditions).
Health & Welfare
This LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare. This could include making decisions about where you live, giving or refusing consent to life sustaining treatment, together with more day to day decisions relating to diet, daily routine or dress. It can only be used if you do not have the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.
Who can I appoint as my Attorney?
When choosing your Attorney, you should look to someone who you know and trust, who is happy to take on the responsibilities involved. It is usual to appoint family members, close friends or professionals such as a solicitor. The Partners at Paul Robinson Solicitors would be pleased to consider a request to act as your attorney if you so wish.
The Attorney must be 18 or over, have mental capacity and not be a bankrupt. You can appoint more than one Attorney and they can act together or separately. You may have different attorneys in each LPA or the same person in both.
Can I put restrictions on my Attorney or include my wishes regarding what I would like them to do?
Yes it is possible to restrict the powers of your Attorney but if you trust them whole heartedly this should not be necessary. You can include your wishes regarding how you want your property and finances dealt with or whether you wish to accept certain medical treatment.
When can my Attorney use the LPA?
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used both when you have capacity to act, as well as if you lack mental capacity to make a financial decision. The Health & Welfare LPA can only be used if you lack mental capacity. In both cases, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
When should my LPA be registered?
We recommend that it be done as soon as you have made the LPA. Registration takes approximately 12 weeks and there is a registration fee of £110 charged by the Office of the Public Guardian.
What if I change my mind?
You can revoke the LPA at any time, so long as you have the mental capacity to do so.
What if I have already made an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers in October 2007. If you made an Enduring Power of Attorney before 1st October 2007, it will be still be valid for decisions regarding your financial affairs. It does not cover health and welfare decisions.
What would happen if I did not make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Your loved ones would have to be make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to handle your affairs. You will not have control of who is appointed and during this time, no action can be taken to settle your bills or pay your expenses. This is an expensive, stressful and time consuming process which is best avoided by making a Lasting Power of Attorney. If you need to go down the Court of Protection route, our specialist team can guide you through this difficult process.
How can Paul Robinson Solicitors help?
At Paul Robinson Solicitors, our experienced team can create a Lasting Power of Attorney that is tailored to your individual needs. We can take the strain out of this complicated procedure and complete the application and registration for you. If you would like to find out more, please call Lee Hibell (Billericay office) on 01277 500123 or Victoria Shepherd (Westcliff office) on 01702 338338.