What is a lasting power of attorney?
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows a trusted party to make key decisions such as who will provide your health care and who will deal with your finances if you develop an illness which leaves you mentally incapable of making such decisions.
Arranging an LPA allows you to focus on providing the best possible care for relatives and is vital for people suffering from degenerative illnesses such as dementia. Failing to arrange an LPA means somebody would have to apply to the Court of Protection for an Order to be able to carry out even the most basic of tasks, such as accessing funds to help pay for care.
Financial lasting power of attorney
Lasting power of attorney for financial decisions allows the person appointed to make financial decisions for the person in need. This can be used while they still have the mental capacity to make decisions but don’t feel confident in making important financial decisions. Some of the financial decisions the person with lasting power of attorney can make include:
- Purchase or sale of a property.
- Paying bills.
- Investment decisions.
The attorney will be given the responsibility to make these decisions based on the best interests of the donor’s long-term future and will speak to the donor to discuss their preferences and make decisions based on this. The attorney should also keep accounts, ensuring all money spent is recorded and accounted for.
LPA for health and care decisions
The attorney takes responsibility for this once the person lacks the mental capacity to make their own decisions. It will allow fast, decisive action to ensure you or your loved one receives the best care possible. Some of the decisions they can make in this situation include:
- The medical care received.
- Living arrangements.
- Social activities.
The donor can instruct their attorney on their preferences for specific situations. If these situations occur, the attorney will then make their decisions based on the donor’s wishes.
How to set up lasting power of attorney
To set up lasting power of attorney you should first choose who you wish to have this responsibility. Although some choose to have a friend or family member have power of attorney, many choose to have a solicitor represent them, owing to their vast experience in dealing with this complex area of law and the decisions it entails.
Following this, you should contact your chosen solicitor, who will help you fill out the relevant forms and register it. The registration process take approximately four to six weeks, during which time the LPA cannot be used.
LPA is also only valid if set up while you still have the mental capacity to set it up and have not been pressured into doing so.