Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) were introduced by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 from 1st October 2007 and replaced the old style Enduring Power of Attorney as a method by which one person can appoint another to make decisions in advance of losing capacity.
There are 2 different types of LPAs:
- A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is for decisions about finances, such as selling your house or managing your bank account; and
- A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare is for decisions about both health and personal welfare, such as where you would live, your day-to-day care or medical treatment.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a person giving the power (‘the Donor’) to choose other people to make decisions on their behalf and (as the name implies) they continue to be valid after the Donor becomes incapable. It is ‘completed’ in advance of a person losing mental capacity. It is then ‘kept’ until needed athough the Donor does not have to have lost mental capacity for the Lasting Power(s) of Attorney to be registered. Once ‘registered’ with the Office of the Public Guardian a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney will then allow the chosen individuals to make decisions on the Donors behalf. There are no temporary or limited powers that can be used by the attorney during the registration process. A registered Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney will only become effective upon the Donor losing mental capacity.
If you need to give someone trustworthy the power to manage either your property and financial affairs e.g. you can no longer manage all or part of your affairs, or when travelling abroad, or your health and welfare decisions e.g. if an illness (such as Alzheimer’s) is likely to worsen, then contact Kew Law. Our private client department will ensure you know exactly what is involved and help you make an informed choice.
Remember you do not have to be old to need an LPA. Indeed one of the absolutely essential requirements is to register it with the government before it is used. The official government line is that this takes 6 weeks to register but it is often considerably longer despite the Government agency charging £110 for each attorney registered. Also remember you may need both types so do not wait until you actually need it because that may be too late.
An LPA will however help your financial affairs and personal decisions to be made quickly. Should you lose capacity and become unable to manage your own affairs then your loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be given the authority to manage them on your behalf. This can prove very expensive.
Please call our mobile friendly number on 033 33 22 1000 or 0800 9878156 or send us a message for further information.