What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document appointing one, or more, trusted people to be the appointees attorney to be responsible for making decisions. Appointing an attorney avoids future problems and ensure your affairs are dealt with by someone you trust.
Why you need a LPA
Nobody knows the future and when it comes to important matters like your health or finances it is imperative to have a plan.
By having a LPA in place you can ensure someone that you trust has the power to make important decisions on your behalf in the event that you become unable to make decisions or look after yourself.
If you were to become incapacitated unable to make decisions, relatives are not able to simply walk into your bank to withdraw money for your care needs. You cannot set up an LPA after you have lost capacity, meaning family members will need to go through the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to manage your affairs – a process which can be decidedly more complex, long-winded and very expensive. What’s more, it could mean a stranger (such as an accountant or lawyer), and not your loved one will have to make every decision for you. You cannot set up a Lasting Power of Attorney for someone if they have already lost mental capacity.
Types of POA
There are two types of LPA and it is possible to have just one or both.
Property and financial affairs: appoint someone to make decisions about your finances, such as managing a bank account, paying bills, collecting a pension, or buying and selling property. This is the most common LPA and can be used immediately if the person making it gives their permission.
Health and welfare: appoint someone to make decisions regarding your medical care and needs. It can only be used once the person can no longer make their own decisions.