What is an LPA
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document whereby one person grants another person the authority to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf. There are different types of LPA for financial decisions and health care decisions.
LPA that grants authority in relation to property and financial affairs
A Lasting Power of Attorney for financial decisions can be used to allow someone to make decisions for you even while you still have mental capacity. These decisions may include such things as buying and selling property, investing money and paying bills. The Attorney (the person who you appoint to make the decisions) may use the LPA while the donor (the person who makes the LPA) still has capacity, unless the donor specifies otherwise.
LPA that grants authority in relation to health and welfare
This type of LPA may not be used until the donor loses capacity (or the attorney reasonably believes that the donor has lost capacity) The attorney may make decisions about the donor’s medical treatment, but the attorney cannot make decisions about life-sustaining treatment unless the donor specifically permits this in the LPA. The attorney may also make decisions as to the donor’s diet, where they live and how they spend their time.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is only valid if you have not been put under pressure to create it, and if you have the mental capacity to understand the implications of the document.
Do I need an LPA?
There may come a time when a person loses the mental capacity to manage his affairs and finances. In such circumstances, that person’s family does not automatically have legal authority to step in and manage his affairs. A (LPA) is a legal mechanism by which the donor (that is, the person making the power of attorney) can appoint one or more persons to act on his behalf (called attorneys) should he lose the mental capacity to make such decisions. An LPA is a way of planning for the future. The donor must make it while he has the mental capacity to do so, in anticipation of perhaps losing mental capacity at a later stage.
If an individual who has not made an LPA becomes mentally incapable, time-consuming and costly applications to the Court of Protection may have to be made.
It is therefore an important consideration in future planning and an LPA is often made alongside a Will. Contact us to arrange an appointment to talk over your situation with an experienced power of attorney solicitor.