More and more people are now creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a document in which a person can appoint somebody else, a person you trust, usually a family member or friend to deal with both their financial and health and care matters.
The financial LPA can be used both when you do and don’t have capacity whilst the health and care LPA can only be used if you do not have the capacity to make your own decisions.
With the prevalence of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and strokes increasing, there may unfortunately come a time when we are unable to manage our own affairs.
Once your LPA has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, your attorney can show the LPA to your bank, and various other organisations, and will be able to handle your finances and pay your bills. You can nominate more than one attorney so that if one of them cannot act the other one can step in. You can also stipulate that your attorneys must make decisions jointly or that they can make them alone.
It is also possible to make a Health and Welfare LPA so that in the event of you being unable to make decisions about your own health and care in the future, you can appoint somebody else to speak on your behalf rather than leave the decisions to the professionals. You can choose whether or not this power will also include decisions about life sustaining treatment.
The important aspect of LPAs is that they must be made while you still have mental capacity. They cannot be made once a person becomes incapable. Therefore you should consider making an LPA now, to ensure that should the worst happen and mental capacity is lost, your attorneys will be able to deal with matters on your behalf and act in your best interests.
Please contact us to arrange an appointment should you wish to create either or both of the LPAs. We can advise and assist you on the forms as well as arrange the registration with the Office of the Public Guardian so that they are ready to be used if and when they are needed.
As stated above, unfortunately more and more people are suffering from terrible diseases and illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s which means that they are unable to deal with their own affairs.
What happens if they do not have a Power of Attorney? If you are trying to assist a loved one to manage their finances but you do not have the necessary authority in place you can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed a “Deputy”. This allows you to deal with the person’s finances on their behalf in order to pay care fees and other day-to-day expenses. You can also apply for authority to sell their property.
These applications are lengthier and more complicated than a Power of Attorney which is why it is a good idea to have one in place. If there isn’t one and a Deputy Application is required then our experienced solicitors can guide you through the process.