What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A Lasting Power of Attorney, otherwise known as an LPA, is a legal document where someone nominates a family member, friend or other acquaintance to manage their affairs should the need arise. The person making the LPA is called the donor and the person to whom power is transferred is called the attorney.
There are two types of LPA. A Health and Welfare LPA gives your attorney permission to make decisions about your healthcare and medical treatment should you lose mental capacity. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorney to manage assets such as your property and your bank account. You do not have to have lost mental capacity for the Property and Financial Affairs LPA to become active.
You must be of sound mind at the time of making either type of LPA. An LPA could be in place for the long term or until such time that you are able to take the reins again yourself.
Just Wills & Legal Services is able to advise on both types of LPA online or through a home visit.
Property and Affairs LPA
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA (sometimes known as a Property Power of Attorney) allows your appointed attorney(s) to deal with and make decisions about things such as:
- Buying or selling property or investments
- Bank, building society and other financial accounts
- Welfare benefits or tax credits
- Tax affairs
An attorney may, for example, use money from the donor bank account to look after the donor’s house, or to buy food or other appropriate possessions.
Your attorney can be given the power to deal with all of your property and financial affairs or you could specify that they only have the power to deal with certain things, such as buying or selling property or managing certain finances. Your LPA needs to be very specific on what the attorney is and isn’t allowed to do.
Unless you stipulate otherwise, a Property and Financial Affairs LPA will come into effect as soon as it is registered. You do not have to wait for someone to lose their mental capacity before using it. The attorney can start making decisions even if the donor is still able to do so themselves.
Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA (sometimes known as a Healthcare Power of Attorney) allows your appointed attorney(s) to make decisions about anything to do with your healthcare and personal wellbeing. This could include:
- What medical treatment you receive
- The type of care you get
- Where you are cared for
- Other requirements such as what you eat and how you are dressed
Any decision made by your attorney should be carried out in your best interests.
When making the LPA, you can set out instructions and preferences that you would like your attorney to bear in mind when making decisions on your behalf.
An LPA will avoid the distress of a delay and also preserve your assets to pay for the care you may need in the future.
With Just Wills & Legal Services, setting up an LPA is a straightforward process. Whether in your own home or via video our team of expert consultants can help you prepare your affairs exactly as you wish, protecting you and your family.
If you would like further details or would like to arrange an appointment please contact us
Who should I choose to be my attorney?
Most commonly, attorneys are partners, family members or friends, although you can choose anyone to be your attorney, provided they are over the age of 18.
Your attorney should be someone you know and trust and who you believe will act in accordance with your wishes and preferences. It is also important to remember that your attorney may have to make difficult decisions on your behalf so they should be someone who understands your values.
Can I have more than one attorney?
Yes, there is no limit to the number of attorneys you can have. Sometimes having more than one attorney is helpful because it shares the burden of making difficult decisions among a group of people, rather than everything falling on the shoulders of one person. You can also nominate replacement attorneys to step in if any of your attorneys die.
If you have more than one attorney, they can act in the following ways:
- Jointly – all attorneys must make all decisions together. This means that if a decision needed to be made but only one attorney was contactable at the time, said attorney would not be allowed to make the decision on his or her own. If one attorney dies, the LPA becomes invalid and the remaining attorney(s) will no longer be able to make decisions.
- Jointly and severally – acting jointly and severally means that your attorneys can act together or on their own. If only one attorney is available, e.g. because the other attorney(s) are otherwise engaged, they can make a decision on their own. Moreover, if one attorney dies, the others are still able to make decisions.
- Jointly for some decisions and jointly and severally for other decisions – for this method to work you must specify what type of decisions must be taken jointly and which can be taken severally. If you have not stipulated, the attorneys will act jointly.
Who do I need to notify when I make an LPA?
You are not obliged to notify anyone that you are making an LPA. However, you have the option to notify up to five people. The nominated people will be sent a letter and will have three weeks to raise any objections.
What are the risks associated with not having an LPA?
If you haven’t set up an LPA, your loved ones may have to pay out a lot of money on your behalf. The Court of Protection would have to appoint a deputy to manage your affairs, which can be both time-consuming and costly.
How much does a Power of Attorney cost?
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