Lasting Power of Attorney
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (otherwise known as an LPA) gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and you cannot make your own decisions (i.e. you ‘lack mental capacity’).
An LPA lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or make decisions on your behalf.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney
Property & Financial Affairs
Your attorneys can help you manage your financial affairs, such as pay your bills, collect your benefits or pension and even sell your home. You can decide to have your attorneys assist you as soon as the LPA is registered or only in the event you lack the mental capacity to make decisions.
Health & Welfare
Your attorneys can make decisions on medical care, moving into a care home and life-sustaining treatment. Your attorneys can only make these decisions if you are unable to do so because you have lost mental capacity.
Why you need a Lasting Power of Attorney
You are in control
You get to choose who makes decisions on your behalf (attorney). If you lose mental capacity and no LPA is in place then the Court of Protection can award the decision-making responsibilities to someone else (deputy) – this may not be someone you would choose.
LPAs are faster
As long as the LPA is registered, your attorneys can use your LPA immediately to access your finances or make an urgent medical decision whereas a deputyship application can take several months which, may cause financial hardship to your loved ones and additional stress at an already stressful time.
LPAs are cheaper
LPAs are considerably cheaper with a one-off fee compared to an application to the Court of Protection where fees can run into the thousands of pounds with ongoing annual supervision fees.
Peace of mind
Having an LPA in place will give you the reassurance that your chosen attorneys can step in and make decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to.
What happens if I don’t have an LPA in place?
If you lose mental capacity and your loved one(s) need to make decisions or access your bank account to pay your bills then they will need to make a deputyship application to the Court of Protection with an application fee. The Court of Protection will then review the application and either approve or reject it or confirm that a hearing will be held (for example if someone objects to the application). If your loved one(s) are successful then they will be appointed as deputies with ongoing supervision, support and visits from a Court of Protection visitor. This process can be time consuming and very costly.
Above are just some key elements as to why having an LPA in place for both your property and financial affairs and health and welfare is so important. If you wish to discuss LPAs in more detail, please get in touch.