You can choose who makes future decisions for you.
Dealing with money and welfare matters in old age or ill health can be difficult and worrying – perhaps even impossible.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you choose one or more people you trust to make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to in the future. These people become your Attorneys.
There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney: (LPA)
2. Financial Decisions
A Financial LPA allows your chosen Attorney(s) to make decisions about your finances and property, if there comes a time when you can’t manage your finances anymore. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits, or selling your house. However, if you wish to, you can restrict their powers, or place conditions on what they can do. It does not allow your Attorney to make decisions about your personal welfare.
LPA – Financial
Most clients assume if they lose their mental capacity, their partner would be able to carry on operating their bank accounts and dealing with their financial affairs.
However, this commonly held belief is incorrect. If you lose mental capacity, a medical officer has to contact the “Court of Protection”. This government office will freeze all your assets including your bank accounts. This not only means your sole accounts but any joint accounts that you have. A joint account can only operate with both parties having capacity. This situation continues for several months until the “Court of Protection” appoints a Deputy. This is also time consuming and extremely costly.
A Financial Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document where you nominate a spouse or trusted person to act on your behalf (your Attorney) and to look after your financial affairs if you lose capacity. Having a registered Lasting Power of Attorney in place means that your Attorney will have almost immediate access to your bank account and financial affairs.
1. Health & Care Decisions
A Health and Care LPA allows your chosen Attorney(s) to make decisions about things like: your daily routine e.g. what you like to eat and what to wear, medical care, moving into a care home and life-sustaining treatment. This type of lasting power of attorney can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.
LPA – Health & Care
If you lose capacity your loved ones do not have the authority to discuss your Health & Care needs with the Doctor.
With a Health & Care Lasting Power of Attorney your spouse or other loved ones can discuss your needs with the Doctor. The Doctor will listen to the nominated Attorney(s) as if it were the patient themselves.
When admitted to hospital, a nurse will ask if a registered Lasting Power of Attorney Health & Care document is available. This is noted on the admittance documents, which the Doctor refers to.
If no Health & Care document has been registered with the “Office of the Public Guardian”, the Doctor does not have to act on the families wishes with regards to the patient’s care.
Who can be an Attorney?
You can choose anyone you wish to be your Attorney, as long as they are over 18, they are able to make their own decisions and are not currently bankrupt or subject to a debt relief order. It’s important to think carefully about who you will appoint. Think about how well you know and trust them to make decisions in the best interests for you. Think about how they look after their own affairs, and whether they are reliable and able to carry out the role of attorney for you. You can choose to have more than one Attorney.