Lasting Power of Attorney
Who looks after your welfare and financial affairs when you no longer can?
It’s a stark fact that one in three over-65s develop some form of dementia. But it’s dangerous to assume that relatives can just access your money, even to pay for your care. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to plan ahead by choosing someone NOW that you trust to make decisions on your behalf regarding your health and welfare, or property and financial affairs, when you know longer wish to make those decisions, or you lack the mental capacity to make such decisions yourself. You can only set up a Lasting Power of Attorney when you have mental capacity. Once you’ve lost capacity, it’s too late. The key is to act early.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Health and Welfare LPA
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA
Health and Welfare LPA
The Health and Welfare LPA deals with matters relating to your personal welfare, that is your social and health care needs. If at sometime in the future you lack the ability to look after your personal welfare, the Health and Welfare LPA will entitle your Health and Welfare Attorney(s) to undertake the following types of activities:
- Deciding where you live.
- Making day-to-day decisions, such as what you will eat, what clothes you will wear etc.
- Making decisions about what medical care you will receive, including (if you have agreed to it in the LPA), whether or not you will receive life-sustaining treatment.
- Deciding when and where you will go on holiday.
- Deciding what social activities you might participate in.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
The Property and Affairs LPA deals with matters relating to your financial affairs. In this document you can permit your Attorney’s power to undertake the following types of activities on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so:
- Opening, closing or operating bank accounts
- Claiming and receiving on your behalf, for example, all pensions, benefits, allowances, services, financial contributions, repayments, rebates
- Making all tax returns and adjusting and settling any claim for tax
- Paying household expenses
- Buying, leasing, selling property
- Paying for private medical care and residential care costs
How does the LPA work and when does it come into effect?
Anyone aged 18 or over can make an LPA, provided they are of sound mind. You cannot make a joint LPA, nor can you make an LPA on behalf of someone else. By planning ahead and making an LPA, you will be able to give your instructions whilst you are of sound mind, in anticipation of the possibility of not being able to do so in the future.
It is very important that you trust the people who you appoint to act as your Attorney(s). A Lasting Power of Attorney is a very powerful document, and you should be aware that there are a number of safeguards in place to help prevent abuse of the system by any of your Attorney(s). You can appoint one or more Attorneys to act for you, as well as determining how they should work together to make decisions on your behalf. Your Attorney should only ever make a choice for you if you are unable to make that specific decision at the time it needs to be made. For example, if you fall into a coma, your Attorney would start looking after your affairs. However, if you wake from the coma, you should be able make to your own decisions again.
Before an LPA can be used, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). However, your Attorney(s) cannot begin to act on your behalf until you have lost capacity to make decisions for yourself. The processes are similar for both LPA’s, although a key difference is the Property and Financial Affairs LPA once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian,comes into effect, unless you specify in the document that you don’t want it to come into effect until after you lose capacity.
It is recommended that you register your LPA as soon as possible in order that it will be ready for use when your Attorneys need to use it.
Making your Lasting Power of Attorney is an important part of advance care planning. None of us can predict the future, or when we may be struck down with a major illness or some form of dementia, and as a result become incapable of making our own decisions as to how we wanted our health and welfare as well as our property and financial affairs to be looked after, when we no longer can.
We are geared to help you make your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), act as Certificator in many cases, and assist with all the paperwork and registration process.
- Plus OPG registration fee (maximum £82*)
- Plus OPG registration fee (maximum £164*)
- Plus OPG registration fee (maximum £164*)
- Plus OPG registration fee (maximum £328*)