A Lasting Power of Attorney is a written document that gives another person (or people) legal power to make decisions about your care or finances on your behalf,
in the event that you become mentally or physical unfit to do so.
In 2007, LPA’s replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), the main difference being that an LPA can cover personal welfare.
There are two types of LPA, and if you would like all bases covered it is advisable that you have both:
Property and Affairs LPA Your Attorney(s) can make decisions about how financial affairs are managed, including property and other assets
Personal Welfare LPA This is for decisions regarding health, welfare, medical treatment and housing. If you were to fall ill, your Attorney would be able to make decisions regarding your care.
In the unfortunate incidence that you become incapable, and an LPA needs to be used, then your Attorney(s) must register it with the Office of the Public Guardian in order to put it into effect.
Can I still use a previous
Enduring Power of Attorney?
If your EPA was signed before October 2007, then it is possible to register it. As EPA’s did not allow for you Attorney to make decisions about welfare, you should set up a Personal Welfare LPA in addition to it.
Who Can I Appoint As My Attorney?
This is entirely your own decision. It can be a friend, relative or professional. It is even possible to appoint different people for each LPA; one for Property and Affairs LPA and another for Personal Welfare LPA. You have full choice as to who you appoint and can have addition Attorney(s) in place for if the original is unable to act.
When Does The LPA Take Effect?
It is up to a medical doctor to decide if you are an incapable person. You also have the option to clearly state under which circumstances you would like your Power of Attorney or Attorney’s to act for you.
What Are The Costs of LPA
Each LPA (most people will opt to have both types) requires a separate application, each occurring a separate fee when it comes to registering them..
Despite what we may wish to believe, accidents and illness is not something which only affects the elderly. If you were taken ill or incapacitated by an accident, and had no LPA in place then The Court of Protection would need to be involved with the administration of your affairs. This is something to remember if you are wary of giving a named person/people Lasting Power of Attorney. Hopefully there will never be need to action the LPA but it is worthwhile having one as part of your Estate Plan just in case.
When choosing an LPA you can have them appointed to deal with a great amount of tasks, including taking legal action against another person if your incapacity is a result of their negligence. They will be able to deal with your bank accounts, bills and a whole host of other matters. Knowing this can be especially comforting if you have a family.
This being said, the scope of your LPA can be as large or small as you wish.
So many people assume that a certain person would be legally able to make decisions for them, for instance a Next of Kin. This is simply not the case. Nobody has the right to make decisions on your behalf without LPA.