Lasting Power of Attorney
By being in the know, you can stay in control, even if you lose your faculties…
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legally binding document whereby someone, the principal, who is still in their right mind, nominates a trusted relative or friend, the agent, or attorney-in-fact after their affairs if they lost the mental capacity.
Put simply a Power of Attorney is a legal document that you sign and appoint a person to handle your tax, financial, and legal matters if you cannot do so.
You can only set up LPA when you have full mental capacity – once you’ve lost this, it’s too late…
If you haven’t set up LPA and you become incapacitated, your family or friends will need to apply through the courts to become your ‘deputy’ which can be a long and expensive process.
Realistically, LPA is a vital legal document every adult should have as we are prone to many illnesses, which means we could lose our capacity for making decisions for ourselves.
The most common conditions LPA relates to include strokes, comas, delirium, concussion, severe mental health problems, neuro-disability/brain injuries, alcohol and drug misuse, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia.
There are two types of LPA – one for finance and property and one for health and welfare.
Just because you give that trusted person power of attorney over your health, doesn’t mean they gain control over your financial affairs.
It takes roughly ten weeks to register a Lasting Power of Attorney. As soon as the documentation (which costs £450.00 inc. VAT) is written, the attorney will be able to start making decisions for the donor (you).
The nominated representative can only make decisions you and the donor cannot make when a decision needs to be made.
The representatives have a duty to act in your best interests and only to make choices the Power of Attorney’s terms allow them to make.
If someone is unable to look after their affairs but didn’t set up LPA, then carers have to apply to the Court of Protection. They will appoint a deputy to make choices about the person’s finances, which is usually a family member or close friend.
This can create terrible difficulties for your family as, without LPA, any joint accounts you may hold can become severely restricted and can affect your partner’s income or pension is paid into this account, upsetting bills and other costs that need to be paid.
It’s, therefore, in everyone’s best interest to set up LPA in advance of any illness.