Lasting Powers of Attorney: what are they and do I need one?

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) is a legal document that enables a person (or persons) you trust to make important decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to make those decisions yourself because of a loss of mental capacity.

There are two different types of LPA – one deals with property and finances, the other deals with health and welfare decisions.

What does a Lasting Powers of Attorney cover?

The property and financial affairs LPA can enable someone to make decisions about money and property, for example managing your benefits payments, managing bank accounts and investments, and paying bills on your behalf.

The health and welfare LPA can enable decisions to be made about things like where you live, what you eat, the clothes you wear and what medical care and treatment you receive.

When should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

You may be thinking that a Lasting Power of Attorney is not necessary, because you are perfectly fit and well, or too young to consider it.  This is a common misunderstanding – you should take action as early as you can and whilst you are still mentally capable of doing so. 

You can only set up an LPA when you have mental capacity, once you have lost capacity it’s too late.  

If you were to be unexpectedly injured, develop an illness, suffer a stroke or otherwise become mentally incapacitated, an LPA cannot be put in place.  In those circumstances, without a valid LPA, you run the risk of forcing your loved ones into potentially long, distressing and expensive court proceedings as they seek to take control of your finances and welfare.  

Unfortunately relatives and loved ones cannot simply walk into a bank and access your money, even if that money is needed to pay for your care.

I would like a Lasting Power of Attorney: what should I do next?

Step 1:  Choose your Attorney(s)

You can appoint up to four people called ‘Attorneys’ to step in and make decisions for you.  They must be aged 18 or over and have the capacity to make their own decisions. Popular choices include relatives, friends or a professional such as a Solicitor.

Step 2:  Contact our specialist private client team to arrange an appointment

Our specialists are here to assist in the entire process, from completing the forms to overseeing the registration of your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (as is required to validate the document).  We can also provide you with certified copies of the document for onward transmission to your banks, utility companies and other relevant contacts for registration in their records.

Call 01745 852110 to speak to a member of our specialist private client team and find out more.