Who would you trust to manage your finances or make medical decisions for you if you lacked the capacity to do so yourself? Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) allow you to legally appoint people that you trust to act for you if, for example, you are unconscious or an illness means that you can’t make the decision for yourself. There are two separate LPAs, one for finances and one for health and welfare decisions.
LPAs need to be prepared and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used, a process which takes at least 3 months so it is best to think about putting them in place long before they might be needed.
Many people are concerned that making an LPA means they are giving up control of their affairs however, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 confirms that an individual must be allowed to make their own decisions while they have capacity to do so. An attorney can only make a decision for you if you lack capacity and they must always act in your best interests.
We are often contacted in emergency situations where someone has become too unwell to make a LPA. In these scenarios, it is often necessary to access their bank account and investments to pay for their care. Unfortunately, where there is no LPA in place, an application must be made to the Court of Protection which can restrict their choice of care provider as the application takes at least 6 to 9 months and few care providers will be willing to provide care without payment for this length of time.
When you make an LPA it is important that you fully understand the authority that is given and it is sensible to take professional legal advice to ensure all your interests are protected.
We view LPAs like an important insurance policy – you hope that you will never need to use them but they are invaluable if you do.
For more information on Lasting Powers of Attorney, finances or other matters that affect people in Later Life, contact Amanda Attrell, Head of Rix & Kay’s Later Life Team. Direct Dial: 01273 766928 Email: email@example.com