What are Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)? These are legal documents which let you to appoint people you trust to make decisions on your behalf in respect of Financial and Health decisions if you are unable to make them for yourself.
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; 'Property and Financial Affairs' and 'Health and Welfare'. You can choose to have one or both types.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers decisions about your property and your finances such as dealing with bank accounts, pensions, paying bills, or selling your house if necessary. This type of LPA be used even if you still have mental capacity but cannot deal with these things yourself, e.g., if you were hospitalised or abroad for extended periods or just wanted additional help and support you’re your day to day affairs.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorneys to make decisions such as medical treatment, consenting or refusing life sustaining treatment also decisions about where you live and your day-to-day care e.g. what you eat, who you can see and what clothes you wear. This type of LPA can only be used once you have lost mental capacity.
Both types of LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.
Think of LPA’s like insurance. You insure your life, your house, and your car – so why not make sure you have people you trust to make decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to make them yourself.
If you do not have LPA’s in place and you lose capacity it is then too late to make them. The only alternative is an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy. This is very time consuming and costly.
A misconception is that “my spouse will sort it out if I lose capacity”. Unfortunately, banks, financial institutions and utility companies will not speak to a spouse and divulge any information. Also, joint bank accounts could be frozen as the bank has a duty to protect the party who has lost capacity.
73% of people think if a couple has a joint bank account and one person can't make decisions for themselves, their partner can legally make decisions for them both. This is untrue. An LPA will however give you consent to access joint funds to pay and monitor financial aspects of a joint account. (Link)
If you own a business also think about a specific LPA which is tailored to your business needs. Your spouse or children might not be the right people or have the knowhow to run your business. In a business LPA you can appoint the right people who could run and manage your business on your behalf.
Therefore, don’t leave it until it is too late. Contact stevensdrake to discuss.