A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to give someone else the legal authority to act on your behalf. There are several different types of Power of Attorney. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) (previously called an Enduring Power of Attorney) allows your attorneys to make decisions for you when you no longer wish to, or when you lack the mental capacity to do so.
When making an LPA you are permitting someone to act on your behalf when you are no longer mentally capable of making decisions on your behalf. An LPA is therefore a very powerful document and we would suggest taking legal advice to ensure that there can be no risk of abuse of the power given.
Using our expertise in this area Williamsons will guide you through the various decisions that need to be made when making an LPA. We will complete all of the numerous forms, taking the stress out of ensuring that the legal formalities are complied with.
There are two different types of LPA:
- Health and Welfare
- Property and Financial Affairs
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions regarding your finances. This could include decisions about paying bills, operating your bank accounts or even selling your home.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions for things such as medical treatment, accepting or refusing types of health care and whether or not you continue to live in your own home. You can also give your attorneys the power to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment for you. Your attorneys can be the same as those appointed under the Property and Financial affairs LPA.
If you decide not to make an LPA and subsequently lack the mental capacity to understand the nature and effect of the document you may no longer be able to create an LPA. In those circumstances, if you are no longer mentally capable of dealing with your financial affairs, someone will have to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as what is called your Deputy. This process applies even if the person incapacitated is your spouse or civil partner. To avoid the Court making decisions on your behalf it is therefore beneficial to create an LPA because it allows you to decide in advance:
- the decisions you want to be made on your behalf if you lose the capacity to make them yourself
- the people you want to make these decisions
- how you want the people to make these decisions
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney is a safe way of maintaining control over decisions made for you because:
- it has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used
- you choose someone to provide a ‘certificate’, which means they confirm that you understand the significance and purpose of what you are agreeing to
- you can choose who gets told about your Lasting Power of Attorney when it is registered (so they have an opportunity to raise concerns)
- your signature and the signatures of your chosen attorneys must be witnessed
- your attorneys must follow the Code of Practice of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and act in your best interests
When making an LPA you are permitting someone else to act on your behalf when you are no longer capable of making decisions for yourself. An LPA is therefore a very powerful document and we would suggest taking legal advice to ensure that there can be no risk of abuse of the power given.
Using our expertise in this area Williamsons will guide you through the various decisions that need to be made when making an LPA. We will complete all of the numerous forms taking the stress out of ensuring that the legal formalities are complied with.