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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (the ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This comes into play if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions (known as ‘lacking mental capacity’). There are two types of LPA covering different areas of your life: Health and welfare Property and financial affairs You can choose to make one or both
Do I need a Will if I have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Yes, an LPA is a different legal document to a Will. A Will determines what happens to your estate after you pass whereas an LPA covers your welfare, health, financial and legal issues while you’re alive but don’t have the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The government is encouraging everyone to set up an LPA. Illness or accident can happen at any time, and It’s highly likely that most of us will reach the point where it would be difficult to handle our own affairs. Having an LPA in place makes life easier for yourself and your family member during a stressful time.
I’m married do I need Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you may assume that your spouse would automatically be able to deal with your bank account and pensions and make decisions about your healthcare. But this is not the case. Only an LPA will give them the authority.
What are the different types of LPA?
There are two types of LPAs: Property and Financial Affairs LPA This type of LPA gives someone the authority to manage your property and money. This could include bank or building society accounts, bills, collecting a pension or benefits and even selling your home. Health and Welfare LPA This covers your health and wellbeing, including decisions around your daily care (washing, dressing, eating), medical care and treatment or whether it’s time to move into a care home. It’s sometimes called a Personal Welfare LPA. You can choose to make one or both.
Who should you pick as an attorney in an LPA?
The attorneys need to be over 18 and not subject to a debt relief order or declared bankrupt. Other than that, it’s up to you. However, you should pick someone who knows you well, is organised and interested in ensuring that your wishes are met, and most importantly, someone who can be trusted. Many people pick their spouse, children or siblings, but you can also choose a professional such as a solicitor or doctor. And although not a requirement it would be sensible to choose someone who is in good health, because if they pass away or lose their own mental capacity, the LPA is invalid. It is also possible to appoint replacement attorneys who can step in if for any reason the original attorneys are unable or unwilling to act on your behalf.
How many attorneys can you appoint?
There is no limit to the number of attorneys you can appoint. You can also assign different decisions to different attorneys.
Can a person refuse to act as an Attorney?
Yes, this is why it is important to get their permission before registering.
What if an attorney dies?
If there are replacement attorneys, then they will be able to step in and make decisions for you. If there are no replacement attorneys, then a new LPA can be drawn up if you still have mental capacity. However, if you don’t, a deputyship will need to be set up through the Court of Protection.
Can another attorney be added after the LPA has been registered?
No, to do so a new LPA would need to be registered.
Do you need to use estate planners to register an LPA?
No, it is possible to download the documents and register it yourself. But it is sensible to have a professional help you through the process to make sure you fully understand everything, and also that it is set up correctly. It is especially important to seek the help of an estate planner if you have complicated assets, or want to ensure that any restrictions or conditions don’t invalidate the LPA.
What happens if I don't have an LPA?
If you don’t have an LPA registered and lose your mental capacity. Then a deputy will be appointed for you through the Court of protection. This is a more expensive, long-winded and involved process than a Lasting Power of Attorney. And you won’t be able to choose your own attorney. It’s much better to put a lasting power of attorney in place while you still can.
What is the court of protection?
The Court of Protection (COP) is the specialist court to deal with issues for people who cannot make specific decisions about their personal welfare, financial and property. If there is an LPA registered you need to apply to the COP to activate it. Or if there is no LPA, the COP will appoint a deputy on your behalf.