A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which formally appoints an attorney of your choosing, to make certain decisions when you are no longer able to. If you have a physical or mental impairment that impacts your ability to make certain decisions, your attorney will step into your shoes and make these decisions for you in your best interests.
There are 2 types of LPA you should consider:-
Property and Affairs LPA
Your attorney appointed to manage your property and affairs can do anything you already do including:
- Buying or selling property;
- Opening, closing or operating any bank, building society or other account;
- Claiming, receiving and using all benefits, pensions, allowances and rebates;
- Receiving any income, inheritance or other entitlement;
- Dealing with your tax affairs;
- Paying your mortgage or rent and household expenses;
- Insuring, maintaining and repairing your property;
- Investing your savings;
- Paying for private medical care and residential care or nursing home fees;
- Applying for any entitlement to funding for NHS care, social care or adaptations;
Health and Welfare LPA
Subject to any specific restrictions in the LPA, your appointed attorney can make decisions regarding your personal and welfare including:
- Where you should live and who you should live with;
- Your day-to-day care, including diet and dress;
- Who you may have contact with;
- Consenting to, or refusing, medical examination and treatment on your behalf;
- Arrangements needed you to be given medical, dental or optical treatment;
- Assessments for, and provision of, community care services;
- Complaints about your care or treatment
Can I have more than one Attorney?
You can have as many attorneys you want but it is usually advised to have 1-4 attorneys. If you do appoint more than 1 person, you need to consider how you wish for them to act;
- jointly, e. working together on all decisions and actions. They must be able to make decisions together and sign documents together, which can become difficult in practice. Additionally, if one attorney dies or loses mental capacity your LPA will no longer be valid;
- jointly and severally, e. sometimes working together and sometimes acting independently. This arrangement works well when attorneys do not live near each other. Also, if one or more attorneys are no longer able to act, the remaining attorneys can continue;
- jointly for some decisions and jointly and severally for others e. you may direct that some tasks, such as selling your home, must be dealt with by your attorneys jointly, but other tasks, such as paying utility bills, can be dealt with independently.
When can my Attorneys start acting under the LPA?
Your attorneys can act under a Property & Financial Affairs LPA as soon as it has been registered. All the time you retain mental capacity you can instruct your Attorneys as to what you want them to do on your behalf. If you lose mental capacity your Attorneys can take over the management of your affairs and make decisions in your best interests.
Alternatively, you may choose that your Attorneys can only act for you when you do not have mental capacity to make those decisions for yourself.
Your attorneys are only able to act on your behalf under a Health and Welfare LPA if you have lost the mental capacity to make the decision in question, at the time it needs to be made.
It is worth noting that your attorneys will have no legal right to act under either LPA if it has not been registered with the OPG and have no legal right to act during the registration process.
Can I give my Attorney/s instructions and guidance?
You may wish to include written Instructions in your LPA as to how and/or when your Attorneys should act for you, and they will be legally bound to follow your Instructions.
If you wish to just provide guidance, this will not be legally binding but can give them an indication of your thoughts, feelings and wishes.
How do I set up a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you would like further information and advice on setting up a LPA, please contact our experienced team on 01329 822 333 to arrange an appointment.