DO I NEED LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY?
By Sarah Strong, Senior Associate
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents which allow you to appoint one or more people (your attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity. The documents can be structured with attorneys and replacement attorneys if appropriate.
There are two types of LPA – one dealing with your health and welfare and one dealing with your property and financial affairs.
Under the LPA for health and welfare your attorneys can make decisions about your medical care, your daily needs, moving into a care home and life sustaining medical treatment. This LPA can only be used if you are unable to make and communicate these decisions yourself.
It is becoming increasingly common for care homes and nursing homes to want to see an LPA for health and welfare in place before allowing someone to become a resident.
The LPA for property and financial affairs enables your attorneys to make decisions about and manage your bank accounts and investments, pensions and benefits, and paying your bills. It will also allow your attorneys to sell your property if required.
This LPA (once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian) can also be used by your attorneys, under your authority, whilst you retain capacity, which can be useful if you would like them to deal with a certain asset for you.
When acting for you, your attorneys must act in your best interests at all times and must abide by the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
If you were to lose capacity without having LPAs in place, your relative would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your deputy. This would then enable them to manage your affairs and make decisions for you. The person (or people) applying to the Court may not be the person that you would choose to act for you if you had the capacity to do so.
The deputyship application process is lengthy, time consuming and expensive.
If you would like to put LPAs in place, or to discuss the documents and process in more detail, please contact a member of our Private Client team on 01892 515022.
This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.