A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person to make decisions about your welfare, money or property. The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be used at any time when and if you are unable to make your own decisions, or if you simply decide that you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Health and Welfare - allows your Attorney/s to make decisions about things such as medical treatment, for example.
- Property and Affairs – allows your Attorney/s to make decisions about your financial affairs, paying bills, investments and if necessary, selling your home.
An LPA cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. However, this does not mean that you will not be able to have control of your own affairs just because the LPA has been registered. So long as you have mental capacity, you can use the LPA in the most convenient way for you.
When should you make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
At any time, but sooner rather than later. Whilst you have mental capacity, you are able to choose the person or people that you would like to be able to deal with your affairs when you are no longer able. Once you lack capacity, the choice is taken from you. So the common misconception that you make a Lasting Power of Attorney when you no longer have capacity is incorrect.
If you do lose capacity and you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney, this is not an insurmountable problem. In these circumstances an application is made to the Office of the Public Guardian for the appointment of a ‘Deputy’ which, in essence, is the same as an Attorney but obviously not of your choosing. However, this alternative procedure can be very lengthy and can take as long as eighteen months before the appointment of a Deputy has been completed. Further, the appointment of a Deputy is very expensive and Court Costs are much higher than in the case of a Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you would like further information about Lasting Powers of Attorney or Deputy Orders, please contact: Fiona Nash or Cathy Eaton at our Kempston office on (01234) 858036 or Michael Culver at our Stevenage Office on (01438) 346000.