Most people make Lasting Powers of Attorney in case they lose capacity later in life but, sadly, mental or physical incapacity can occur at any age and it is never too early to make one.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document in which you, the donor, can nominate one or more people to act as your attorney. The attorneys will help you make decisions or make them on your behalf if you lose capacity.
There are two types of LPAs:
Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows the attorney to manage your finances, such as running your bank account, managing your investments or paying your bills. The LPA can be used as soon as it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Health and Welfare LPA allows the attorney to make decisions about your medical treatment and care, such as agreeing to you having the coronavirus vaccination or deciding where you should live. You can elect whether or not your attorney will be able to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment and unlike the financial LPA, the attorney can only act once you have lost mental capacity.
Anyone over 18 and with capacity can make a Lasting Power of Attorney and, as the Coronavirus pandemic has shown us, nobody knows what’s around the corner. A life-changing accident at work or a brain injury from a cycling accident could happen to anyone at any stage of life. With an LPA in place your attorney can step in to manage your finances or make medical decisions and ease the potential burden on your loved ones at a difficult time.
Without an LPA in place your next of kin would need to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint somebody to act on your behalf. The Court of Protection is a vital safety net but it can be a time-consuming and costly process and may not appoint the person you would like to manage your affairs. An LPA may make it a little easier to make any necessary decisions and arrangements in the aftermath of an accident or sudden illness, even if a Deputy is eventually required.
When deciding who you would like to nominate as an attorney, consider someone you trust will make decisions in your best interests. If you have more than one attorney you can decide whether they should act jointly or jointly and severally. It is also possible to nominate replacement attorneys in case something happens to your nominated attorneys.
We can help you tailor the document to your wishes and advise you accordingly. One of our solicitors can act as the certificate provider and certify that you understand the LPA and have not been pressurised into signing it. It can then take up to 3 months to register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Further information about drawing up an LPA can be found here.