A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal tool that gives another adult the legal authority to make certain decisions for you, if you become unable to make them for yourself. The person you give this authority to is known as an ‘attorney’. They can manage your finances or make decisions relating to your health and welfare. Without an LPA, decisions are subject to the Court of Protection rather than your spouse or your family.
Are there different types of LPA’s?
There are two different types of LPA. One of covers decisions about your property and finances and the other covers decisions about your health and welfare. You can choose to make both types or just one. You can appoint the same person to be your attorney for both or you can have different attorneys.
An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to become effective. At Smith & Co Solicitors, we can help you with this step.
Property and Affairs LPA
If there comes a time where you can’t manage your finances anymore, the person you appoint as your attorney will be able to do this for you. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits or selling your house. However if you want to, you can limit the decisions they are allowed to make or place conditions on what they can do.
Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about issues such as where you live and your day-to-day care, such as appointing carers, your diet and what you wear, if there comes a time when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.
You can also give your attorney the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf, which is a great help to your family and the medical profession.
You will be asked whether you wish to do this or not on the LPA form you fill in and you will need to state your intention clearly.
How do you make an LPA?
There are separate forms for the two different types of LPA. To protect your interests, an LPA must be signed by a certificate provider – a solicitor, doctor, social worker – who certifies that you have mental capacity, understand the LPA and have not been pressurised into signing it.
You must remember that it is a powerful legal document. At Smith & Co solicitors, we have experience of preparing them to safeguard you from making errors that may make life difficult for your attorney in the future.
Registering the document can take up to 3 months and there is a cost for each LPA.
How do I choose an attorney?
You can choose anyone you want to be your attorney as long as they are over 18. For a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, however, the person you choose cannot be bankrupt. It’s important to think carefully about who to appoint. Think about who knows you well and who you trust to make these decisions for you, and also whether the person is reliable and has the skills to carry out the role.
You can choose to have more than one attorney. They can make decisions together (jointly) or act separately (severally) or a combination of both. When making decisions, your attorney must follow the rules within the Mental Capacity Act, acting in your best interest, taking into account your past and present wishes and not taking advantage of you to benefit themselves. An attorney must keep all of your money separate from their own.
I already have an EPA. Do I need an LPA as well?
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was a system that was in place before LPAs. If you made your EPA before October 1 2007 and it is correctly filled in, it is still valid and can be registered and used. EPAs only cover decisions about finances and property so you might want to make a Health and Welfare LPA to cover decisions about your care or treatment.
For more information about Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact: Zeenat Pasha
Smith & Co Solicitors
21 St Margaret’s Green