A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you lack the capacity to do so yourself.
Many people mistakenly believe that their spouse or other next of kin will automatically be able to access their bank accounts and make decisions about their healthcare if they lose the ability to do so.
This is not the case. The only guarantee that the people you want will have the authority they need to make the decisions you want is if you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney.
In this article, our Lasting Powers of Attorney solicitors answer some frequently asked questions about LPAs.
What is an LPA?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make certain decisions for you should you no longer want or be able to make those decisions for yourself.
There are two main types of LPA:
- Property and financial affairs. This deals with decisions relating to finances and property, such as selling your house, paying your bills, accessing your bank accounts and collecting pensions and other benefits.
- Health and welfare. A health and welfare LPA allows an attorney to decide about your medical care, where you should live, and any life-saving or life-sustaining treatment.
Individuals can choose to make one or to make both.
A health and welfare attorney can only make decisions on your behalf when you lose capacity. However, you can allow a property and financial affairs attorney to make decisions for you as soon as it is registered if that is what you prefer.
In addition, individuals can sometimes opt to make an Ordinary Power of Attorney. This can be set up to allow someone to make financial decisions for you on a temporary basis, for example, if you are in hospital and need help paying your bills.
What is capacity?
Mental capacity is defined as the ability to use information to make a decision and communicate that decision to others.
Under the Mental Capacity Act, it is presumed that individuals have capacity until it is proven that they have not.
Lacking capacity means that you are unable to make decisions. Capacity can be lost for various reasons, such as through an accident, illness, or injury, and can happen on a permanent or short-term basis.
Who needs an LPA?
Everyone needs an LPA. LPAs help individuals of all ages and from all walks of life safeguard their future by putting in place provisions for what happens if they suffer from an illness or accident that means they lose mental capacity.
Anyone over the age of 18 and with mental capacity can make an LPA. You may not need it anytime soon, and you may not use it at all, but the earlier an LPA is completed and registered, the better. An LPA provides security and protection and gives you complete control over your estate planning.
How do you make an LPA?
Consulting a solicitor is the best way to ensure a Lasting Power of Attorney is properly set up and reflects your wishes.
Muscatt Black Graf has extensive experience assisting clients with Lasting Powers of Attorney. To speak to one of our Private Client team, please email email@example.com or fill in our online contact form.
What happens if you don’t have an LPA?
If you lose capacity without an LPA in place, your loved ones do not automatically have the power to manage your affairs. This can cause additional problems and added stress for families already going through a difficult time.
Instead, a family member or other associate would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your ‘deputy’ to be able to make decisions on your behalf.
Applications to the Court of Protection can be a costly and time-consuming process. It also means you do not get any input on who is appointed.
Lasting Power of Attorney Lawyers Marylebone
At Muscatt Black Graf, our experienced private client solicitors have extensive experience assisting individuals and their families in managing their affairs by providing practical and pragmatic advice on all matters concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
Muscatt Black Graf’s Lasting Powers of Attorney service includes:
- Advice on capacity issues.
- Advice on the appointment of attorneys and their duties.
- Advice on Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs).
- Preparing the LPA forms.
- Registering LPAs with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
- Financial administration.
- Cancelling an LPA or EPA.
- Retiring from the position of attorney.
We ensure our clients’ needs are met by providing reassurance and clear and constructive advice.
This blog was prepared on 20 September 2023. It is not intended to be advice and should not be relied upon as such.