Lasting Power of Attorney
You may be considering setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), whether for yourself or someone in your family.
An LPA is often considered to be as important as having a Will, and in contrast to a Will, it looks after your affairs whilst you are still alive. It’s a way of giving someone you trust (your Attorney) the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf in the future, if the day comes that you lose the capacity or the ability to make your own decisions, or to do things for yourself. Setting up an LPA doesn’t that mean you need to surrender control.
There are two types of LPA.
1) Property and Finance for financial and property decisions, which will allow your Attorney to make decisions on your behalf, with your permission and also making sure to act in your best interests
2) Health and Welfare for health, care and medication decisions, which may include your daily routine, general and medical care, moving into a nursing home and life saving treatment, but your appointed Attorney will only be able to make these decisions once the LPA is registered, and provided that you can no longer make these decisions yourself. You can decide to give your attorney the power to make decisions about any or all of your health and welfare matters.
No one likes to think about losing the ability to manage their own affairs, and there are many things that can impact on our ability to look after our own affairs, regardless of our age, so an LPA is not just for the elderly.
If in the future
you suffer a serious illness or are incapacitated due to injury, suffer dementia, a stroke, brain injury or mental health problems, or are simply unable to move around as easily, having an LPA already in place ensures there is no delay in your Attorney being able to look after your affairs and make any decisions on your behalf.
So, we MUST set up our LPA
whilst we are still able to make decisions for ourselves, it’s the only way of ensuring we are in control of who makes the decisions on our behalf if we do lose capacity or the ability to make decisions for ourselves in the future.
The Court of Protection
will be your Attorney in these instances, and your loved ones as Deputy will have restrictions and huge costs to bear. If your loved ones are not granted Deputyship then the local authority is appointed and will have control of bank accounts and decisions regarding finances, healthcare and day to day living.
It is a common misconception
that, in the absence of a Power of Attorney, your partner or a close family member (next of kin) can make decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so, or indeed if bank accounts are in joint names everything will be fine. This is not the case.
It is true that an LPA
can be obtained by our loved ones after we’ve lost capacity by making a retrospective application to the Court of Protection for Deputyship, but it’s a hugely costly and lengthy process taking many months, sometimes years, and thousands of pounds before it is granted. During this time no decisions can be legally made on your behalf causing many problems and a great deal of emotional distress.
Please do get in touch if you or someone in your family wants to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.