Your control over who makes decisions on your behalf.
In the future you could possibly find a need for someone to make decisions for you and act on your behalf, in relation to Property, Financial, Health or Welfare matters. This could be for a number of reasons; whether through age, illness, disability, mental incapacity or even just travelling away from home.
No-one automatically has the right to deal with your bank accounts and pensions or make decisions about your health and social care if you lose the capacity to do so. You can secure your future decisions now by choosing people you trust to make these decisions on your behalf in a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) document. The person or persons you choose would be your attorney or attorneys and whether this is your partner, a trusted relative or a good friend is entirely your choice.
There are two types of LPA – Property & Financial Affairs (PA) and Health & Welfare (HW). These documents have to be made and signed while you have full mental capacity. Before an attorney can act on your behalf, your documents would have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
Without an LPA in place, if you were to lose capacity, the Court of Protection would have to appoint a Court Deputy to deal with your affairs, which could result in fees in the £000’s. Even if you’re married your spouse won’t necessarily be given control over all your affairs without a Power of Attorney.
LPA Property & Financial Affairs (PA)
A Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (PA) takes care of your financial affairs, property, bank accounts and other assets. Amongst other things, this means that your chosen attorney can pay your bills and deal with your income.
You can decide when this arrangement is invoked – for example, if you have difficulty getting out of the house or talking on the phone, you can appoint someone to legally act on your behalf in these circumstances, even if you are still as sharp as ever. Alternatively, you can decide if the LPA is to be triggered only when you lack the capacity to make any decision yourself.
Avoiding Family Feuds
One very good reason to arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney for property & affairs is to avoid the possibility of family arguments over who should take responsibility for you and your assets. An LPA can be tailored to meet your specific requirements, so you can hand over as little or as much control as you wish and stipulate under what precise conditions control should pass to your appointed attorney.
LPA Health & Welfare (HW)
A Lasting Power of Attorney (HW) allows you to decide who gets to make decisions on your future care and welfare, and unlike the Property and Affairs LPA, this element will only come into force when you are unable to make your own decisions. It covers things like where you will live and what medical care you receive and you can also give permission for your attorney to make decisions about life-saving treatment.
We have a great deal of experience with the Health & Welfare LPA and can help you to ensure that all of your wishes are complied with should you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to communicate with healthcare providers due to the seriousness of your condition.
Ensuring Your Wishes Are Respected
We will help you decide how to structure your LPA; If you’ve chosen two different attorneys you will need to tell us whether you want to appoint them to act together or independently.
We will also discuss the importance of registering your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) so that it becomes a legally binding document.
LPAs for businesses
If you are a business owner, it is important to think about what would happen to your business if you were unable to make decisions.
Who would authorise the payment of bills, sign cheques, service a business loan or pay salaries if something happens to you? Would you hope that a colleague or family member will get authority to act on your behalf? this could take some time to sort during which your business will potentially be at risk.
To protect your business, you may wish to talk to us about a separate LPA to cover this.
Easy to set up – not easy to overlook
We would always counsel having both types of LPA to ensure your attorneys can fully cater for your needs, whatever situation you find yourself in.
Making an LPA is easy- one of our professionally trained consultants will visit you in your home, workplace or care facility to discuss and take your instructions to draw up all the necessary paperwork. You tell us who you’d like to appoint as your ‘attorney’ and in what circumstances. Once signed by all parties, LPA documents need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used although it is not a legal requirement to do so straight away. If a person was to lose mental capacity before their LPAs were registered for use with the Office of the Public Guardian, their proposed attorneys could register the document on their behalf.
To find out more about Lasting Power of Attorney
call us on 01603 894500 today