Lasting Powers of Attorney
Whether through accident, ill health or simply old age it can become difficult or even impossible for some individuals to handle their own affairs. If this happens without having alternative arrangements in place, it can cause great difficulties for your loved ones.
This is because under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 no-one (including a husband or wife) can look after another’s affairs should they lose capacity. As you will probably know from personal experience, if your name isn’t on the bill or the bank account, no one will speak to you about it.
All too often families have no strategy in place to deal with the financial affairs of someone who is no longer able to do so, whether this be through a loss of mental capacity or otherwise.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents that allow an individual (the Donor) to authorise one or more people (the Attorneys) to deal with their affairs should they become incapable of doing so themselves.
For many people an LPA is as important, if not more important, than a Will. A Will states what is to happen after you die, an LPA gives you protection while you’re still alive! In fact, the official advice is that everyone over the age of 18 should have LPAs in place.
Should LPAs become necessary and not already be in place, it’s too late. The only alternative is to appoint a Deputy through the Court of Protection – an extremely expensive, lengthy and onerous process.
We can draw up a Lasting Power of Attorney for you so that a trusted person can manage your affairs on your behalf if you become incapable of managing them yourself. If you would like to arrange a no-obligation consultation, get in touch today.
Useful information on Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney on 1 October 2007. (If you have an Enduring Power of Attorney it is still valid provided it has been properly signed).
There are two types of LPA:
- Property and Financial LPAs
- Health and Welfare LPAs
Property and Financial Lasting Powers of Attorney
Property and Financial LPAs allow your Attorney (or Attorneys) to pay bills, go to the bank, talk to companies over the phone and even to sell a property on your behalf, although restrictions can be placed on what Attorneys can and can’t do. If you own a business, you can set up a separate LPA for these affairs, using different attorneys to handle your personal affairs and business matters should you wish.
This type of LPA is not just for a loss in mental capacity. What is often overlooked is sometimes an individual’s mind maybe absolutely fine, but they still can’t handle their own affairs.
- If you are house bound, it may not be possible to get to the bank.
- If you are hard of hearing, it may not be possible to speak with companies on the phone.
- If you have severe arthritis it may prevent you from being able to sign your name.
Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney
If you have to go into hospital or care and you are of sound mind there is no problem as you can make your own decisions or name a Next of Kin to make decisions for you. But problems often arise if an individual has lost their mental capacity and then needs care. The local authority legally must take over and must make decisions based on what they believe to be in the best interest of the individual. These decisions may not be what the individual or their family would have made or wanted.
Health and Welfare LPAs allow the Attorneys to make health-related decisions on behalf of the Donor and can only be used after a loss of mental capacity.
- Decisions made by the NHS and the local authority can be challenged.
- Medication and treatment can be refused or demanded.
- If in care, there is full authority to discuss all aspects of the care including diet, dress and daily routine.
“I would like to say how happy I am with the service you provided for me and my wife Tania in helping us sort out both our wills, in just two very short meetings you made it very easy for us to understand all the pitfalls and implications of leaving things untouched with our current will set up. Thank you for explaining things in plain English.”
Leon Coppola - Director at First Image Ltd