Lasting Powers of Attorney
Certainty in an uncertain world
Everyone should prepare for the future, whatever their age or current circumstances.
Of course, most of us recognise the need for an up to date Will, even if the temptation is to put off thinking about it, but fewer people have considered what might happen if they were suddenly to lose the capacity to manage their own affairs.
We all want to live our lives as independently as possible, managing our own finances and personal affairs, making our own decisions and continuing to reside in our own home. However, many factors can intervene which make this difficult or impossible, including illness, injury, disability or, quite simply, old age.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). One deals with Property and Financial Affairs, the other deals with Health and Welfare. The most common relates to financial management and it is a matter of choice whether to have one or both.
The advantage of an LPA is that you can use it to choose which trusted person or people will look after you and your property in the event of you becoming unable to do so yourself. You can give specific instructions to those attorneys and direct how they will deal with issues on your behalf.
Once created and registered, the LPA will remain in place as a long term safeguard – although you are free to revoke it at any time, provided that you retain the capacity to do so. Not only does this give you peace of mind, but it also makes it much easier for those close to you to help you if the worst happens.
It can be expressed to take effect immediately or only when a change in your circumstances arises.
The alternative is a more complicated and costly application to the Court of Protection to appoint “deputies” to act on your behalf, whose actions are then subject to the strict control of the Court. If there is no LPA in place, you may well not be in a position to control who is appointed to be your deputy.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA
This type of LPA allows you to appoint an attorney to deal with your finances, such as selling or buying property on your behalf; dealing with your bank accounts and income and paying bills on your behalf.
A Health and Welfare LPA
This type of LPA allows you to appoint attorneys to make important decisions for you, such as those relating to medical treatment and also day to day decisions regarding where you live and how you are looked after.
Your attorneys have a duty to act in your best interests, but can be guided by the express directions and wishes that you set out in your LPA. This helps to ensure that your wishes are carried out, whilst giving those close to you the peace of mind of knowing that it is your own decisions that are being given a voice, even if you are no longer able to express them yourself.
Our specialist lawyers can advise on the steps that may need to be taken to prepare for these eventualities, including the completion and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian, or dealing with the Court of Protection.
Please feel free to call a member of our team for an initial discussion about your requirements (free of charge).