Lasting Power Of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime. The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called the Attorneys. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a completely separate legal document to your Will. Many people put them in place at the same time as getting their Will written, as part of wanting to plan for the future.
Many people don’t know that their next of kin has no automatic legal right to manage their spouse’s affairs without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. So having to make decisions on their behalf can become prolonged and significantly more expensive.
The best solution is for couples to have ‘Mirror’ (identical) Lasting Powers of Attorneys. These documents would allow them to appoint each other to make decisions about each other’s financial affairs and health issues; should one of them lose capacity to do so.
When can I put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place?
You can only put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place whilst you are capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document i.e. you have the required legal capacity. After this point, you cannot enter into a LPA and no one can do so on your behalf.
Our home-visit consultant will use their experience to guide you through the areas where guidance may be required. This includes inserting the appropriately worded restrictions and guidance notes for attorneys.
We understand completing an LPA document can be a little daunting for some. However, we will ensure that you are confident that we are on hand throughout the process, offering advice and guidance when required. You will be advised of what to expect next, and when.
Peace Of Mind With A Lasting Power Of Attorney
Once you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you can have peace of mind that there is someone you trust to look after your affairs if you became unable to do so yourself during your lifetime. This may occur, for example, because of an illness or old age or an accident.
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place can allow your attorney to have authority to deal with your finances and property as well as make decisions about your health and welfare. Your Lasting Power of Attorney can include binding instructions together with general preferences for your attorney to consider. Your Lasting Power of Attorney should reflect your particular wishes so you know that the things that matter most would be taken care of.
What happens without a Lasting Power of Attorney in Place?
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place there is no one with the legal authority to manage your affairs, for example, to access bank accounts or investments in your name or sell your property on your behalf. Unfortunately, many people assume that their spouse, partner or children will just be able to take care of things but the reality is that simply isn’t the case.
In these circumstances, in order for someone to obtain legal authority over your affairs, that person would need to apply to the Court of Protection and the Court will decide on the person to be appointed to manage your affairs. The person chosen is appointed your ‘Deputy’. This is a very different type of appointment which is significantly more involved and costly than being appointed attorney under a LPA.
If you wish to have peace of mind that a particular person will have the legal authority to look after your affairs and you want to make matters easier for them and less expensive, then you should strongly consider getting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
Mental Capacity Or Not?
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) sets out what happens when people are unable to make decisions i.e. when they lack capacity to make decisions. The MCA came into full force on 1 October 2007 in England & Wales.