What is Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document. It allows you to appoint people to act on your behalf should you ever lose your ability to manage your personal affairs because of physical or mental incapacity.
The two types of Lasting Power of Attorney are:
- Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney: This type of LPA provides your attorney with the authority to make decisions about your day to day care and medical treatment if you lose the ability to make those decisions for yourself;
- Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney: This type of LPA provides your attorney with the authority to make decisions regarding the management of your bank accounts, dealing with benefits and pensions, paying bills or buying and/or selling property.
The benefit of power of attorney and how it can help your family?
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be created only when you have sound mental capacity.
Your family do not automatically have the legal authority to manage your affairs if you can no longer make decisions yourself. Sometimes, it may be too late, in which case, your family will have to make an application to the court for a Deputyship Order to decide who can manage your affairs on your behalf. This can be expensive and time consuming.
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How do I make a lasting power of attorney?
- You can choose one or multiple attorney(s). They need to be over 18, have the mental capacity to make their own decisions (as well as yours), willing to act for you, and you need to fully trust them to act in your best interests. People who are bankrupt cannot act as financial attorneys.
- Fill in the correct form. You can do this either online or with a printed form. You will need to consider decisions such as whether you want your attorneys to act together or be able to act independently; whether you wish to appoint any substitutes and in what circumstances; and whether you have any preferences or instructions. All of these must be carefully considered.
- Sign the form with two independent witnesses. Your attorney(s) can't be your witnesses.
- You will also need a "Certificate Provider". This is the person who confirms your capacity at the time of making the LPA. If a solicitor is helping you with your LPAs, they can usually sign this section. Otherwise it must be a medical professional, or a close personal friend who has known you more than two years and would be prepared to testify as to your capacity in court if need be. Your Certificate Provider must also sign the LPA.
- Your Attorneys will then need to sign the LPA, before witnesses. All of these steps must be taken in a strict chronological order or the LPA may be declared invalid.
Both types of LPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.
How do you choose your attorney(s)?
The role of an attorney is one of great power and responsibility, so it is important that you make the right decisions when choosing your attorney(s), deciding how they should act and deciding what powers to give them.
Slater and Gordon can offer further advice on the types of LPA available and provide practical and legal guidance throughout the LPA creation and registration process.
Contact our friendly expert advisors to get the advice you need by booking a callback below today.