Lasting Powers of Attorney
What decisions can be made?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney: Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare LPAs; this means that you can make an LPA to cover either or both of these types of decisions.
For Property and Financial Affairs your attorneys will have the ability to decide on:
- Selling or renting your home
- Paying bills or your mortgage
- Accessing funds in your bank account
For Health and Welfare your attorneys will have the ability to decide on:
- Life sustaining treatment
- Care homes
- Decisions about your day-to-day wellbeing
If you have more than one attorney then you can also decide how your attorneys are to make these decisions. They can be appointed jointly for some or all decisions, however all Lasting Power of Attorneys must agree unanimously. If any of them are unable or unwilling to act, or if they disagree then they cannot proceed. Alternatively you can appoint your attorneys to act jointly and severally, which allows them to make decisions independently if required. This may be preferable for ease of administration.
With regards to The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney your attorneys can only act once you have lost mental capacity. However you can choose whether your Property and Financial Affairs LPA comes into effect either immediately or once you have lost mental capacity.
Who can be your attorney?
You need to appoint at least one attorney and you can also appoint ‘replacement attorneys’ to act in the event that they are unable or unwilling to act.
Your attorney can be anyone over the age of 18. They will need to have mental capacity, and they cannot be declared bankrupt if they are to act in respect of your Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney. Many people choose a spouse, child, or a trusted family member or friend. You can also appoint a trust corporation to act on your behalf in regards to the Property and Financial Affairs LPA.
You should think carefully about who you choose to act as your attorney as once the document is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, it cannot be amended. You would then need to revoke your current Lasting Power of Attorney and make a new one, which would be an expensive and time consuming way to deal with your affairs.
Why do you need one?
Lasting Powers of Attorney are about forward planning; you may not feel that you need to have one right now but it is useful to arrange the document while you are still able to do so.
There is a misconception that LPAs are only for the older generation, but they are just as relevant for younger people. If you own your own home or have assets in your bank account, you may wish to ensure that someone trusted would be able to have access to this in the event that you were incapacitated (whether mentally or physically).
If you lose mental capacity later in life then you would be unable to get an Lasting Power of Attorney and your loved ones cannot arrange this on your behalf. They may then need to apply to the court to be granted the power to act on your behalf. This can be an extremely costly and time consuming process and could cause much unnecessary stress for your loved ones.
By ensuring that this protection is in place now, you can rest assured that your assets and wellbeing are taken care of in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself. It also means that the person appointed as your attorney would be your own choice and that you can decide how and when they are to make decisions.
To talk to one of Redstone Will’s legal experts about Lasting Powers of Attorney, or any other Will related service, do not hestitate to call us on 0808 281 1545 or view our services.