What is a lasting power of attorney?
Powers of Attorney (POA) have been serving the public for centuries. It is a powerful legal document
which allows an individual (Donor) to appoint a person of their own choice (an Attorney), to look after their affairs should they at a later stage no longer wish to make these decisions or cannot manage their affairs themselves.
There may come a time in your life when you are unable to manage your financial affairs or personal welfare, owing to some form of incapacity and you will need someone to act on your behalf.
Even when we are young, we can find ourselves incapacitated, owing to illness or injury and it can be invaluable to have a reliable person, who is able to manage your personal affairs and remove the anxiety of having unpaid bills, at a time when you most need peace of mind.
Similarly, as we get older, the need for an attorney increases as we are more prone to illness and injuries.
Creating a Power of Attorney in advance ensures that if the worst were to happen, you can rest assured that both your financial affairs and personal welfare are in safe hands.
Setting up an LPA allows you to plan in advance
Having an LPA set up means that you have peace of mind, should anything happen to you or a loved one. It gives you the ability to plan ahead:
- The people you want to make those decisions for you (your Attorneys).
- The decisions you want to be made on your behalf e.g. life-sustaining treatments.
- How you want your Attorneys to make those decisions e.g. jointly
- Once the LPA is registered with the OPG your attorneys can make financial decisions on your behalf and they must follow the principles as set out in the Mental Capacity Act when making these decisions.
- Your Attorneys are free to act on your behalf without involvement from the OPG, unless a concern is raised with how the Attorney is acting.
- Minimal personal details are required for both the Donor and the Attorney to set up the LPA.
- Shorter time scale is involved in setting up the LPA.
WHO CAN ACT AS MY ATTORNEY? WHO CAN MAKE AN LPA??
Anyone aged 18 and over who has mental capacity and who is not bankrupt when they sign the form. You should appoint someone you trust such as a relative, or a professional. (Most professional Attorneys will only act for LPA Property & Financial Affairs). Anyone aged 18 years or over who has mental capacity at the time of making it (England and Wales).
You should also consider how you would like your Attorneys to act. You have three options:
- This option means that your Attorneys must make ALL decisions together. If your attorneys disagree, that decision cannot be made on your behalf.
- You might choose this option if you want to be sure that your attorneys are in agreement about every decision, but you should bear in mind that getting the agreement of all the Attorneys could take extra time and delay what otherwise would have been straightforward decisions.
- It should be noted that, if one of the Attorneys is unable to act due to predeceasing the Donor, losing mental capacity, etc. the LPA will be rendered invalid. Any Replacement Attorney will take over from the remaining Attorneys and act as SOLE Attorney.
- This option means that your Attorneys can make some decisions independently, but for others, they must all be in agreement.
- You might choose this option if you want your Attorneys to be able to make day-to-day decisions such as paying care home fees independently but, be in agreement when making more significant decisions such as selling your home.
*Please note that if you choose this option and the OPG deems it to be unworkable, it could render the LPA invalid and be rejected during the OPG Registration process.
- This option means that your Attorneys can make all decisions either together or independently.
- You might choose this option if, for example, one of your Attorneys is closely involved in your financial affairs and you trust them to make your decisions on their own, or one of your Attorneys is frequently unavailable (working abroad) or you simply want to ensure that your LPA continues to be workable if one of your Attorneys dies.
What to do?
Download our free Lasting Power of Attorney guide, to help you plan for the future and make sure your family are protected.
For further information, contact our in-house legal team who can help you with any queries about setting up a lasting power of attorney.