Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) are something we discuss with all our clients. They are a legal tool allowing you to appoint someone to make certain decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them for yourself in the future, otherwise known as ‘lacking mental capacity’.
These might be decisions concerning your finances or your health and welfare. For the latter, using an LPA can ensure that the appointed person has the power to fulfil any medical wishes that you have and ensure that are not given any treatment that you do not want to receive.
There are two different types of LPAs; the 'Property and Affairs' LPA and the 'Health and Welfare' LPA. Each type covers different decisions and you can choose to apply for both or just one of these.
A Property and Affairs LPA covers decisions about your finances and property and can include; paying your household bills, collecting your income and benefits or selling your house if necessary. This could be used even if you still have mental capacity to deal with these things yourself, for example if you were living abroad or in hospital.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorney to make decisions such as where you live, or day to day care such as your diet and what clothes you wear. This type of LPA can only be used once you have lost mental capacity, and it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
Nobody likes to think about growing old and possibly losing mental capacity. However, an LPA can be thought of in a similar way to an insurance policy. You insure your house, your car, and your life - this is simply like taking out an insurance policy to ensure someone you trust will be able to make decisions for you if you are not able to.
Once you have lost mental capacity you cannot set up an LPA, your family must apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy. This is a very costly and time consuming process and best avoided if at all possible.
If you are interested in setting up an LPA, FMB can assist by referring you to a solicitor who specialises in this area.