LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY (LPAs)
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
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 separate legal document to your Will, although many people put them in place at the same time as getting their Will written, as part of planning for the future.
What does Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) cover?
There are two types of personal LPAs – a Health and Care LPA and a Property and Financial Affairs LPA
A health and care LPA allows your Attorney to make decisions about any medical treatment and day to day welfare. This can include where you live, what you eat, what medical treatment you receive, and who you see.
A property and financial affairs LPA allows your Attorney to handle (and make decisions about) your money and property. This can include paying your bills, selling your property, collecting your pension, and collecting your benefits.
Why should I have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
If Covid has taught us anything, it should be that anything, no matter how unexpected, can happen and the best legal foreplanning would be to ensure that you have a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place.
In brief, if you become unable to express your wishes, an LPA enables someone to step in and make decisions for you about your health and welfare or your finances. These important decisions will be made by someone you choose and trust, and you can choose the right type of lasting power of attorney for your circumstances.
Why is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) so important?
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, 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 instructions for your Attorney, as well as your general preferences for them to consider. Your LPA should reflect your wishes so you know that the things that matter most would be taken care of.
You can only put an LPA in place whilst you can understand the nature and effect of the document. If you lose this capacity, you cannot enter into an LPA and no one can do so on your behalf.
Many people don’t know that their next of kin has no automatic legal right to manage their affairs without a lasting power of attorney. Without an LPA, making decisions on someone else’s behalf can be a long and significantly more expensive process.
Can couples share Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)?
One solution for couples is to have ‘mirror’ Lasting Power of Attorney documents.
As the name suggests, these documents will mirror one another, allowing each person to appoint the other to make decisions for them if they loose capacity. They can also name the same person as a backup or replacement attorney. This might be one of their children, for example.
What is a Business Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
If you are a sole trader, partner or company director who runs a small business, it is vital that you understand what could happen if you don’t put a lasting power of attorney in place. While an LPA is not a requirement to run your business, a financial decisions LPA will help if you are unable to manage your business because of a serious illness or accident. Find out more about Sole Trader or SME LPAs here.
Why should you use a Solicitor to draft your LPA?
We can give you specialised advice about specific clauses that could be included in your LPA, how to appoint your attorneys and how they will operate in practice. If you appoint us to draft your LPAs we not only advise you on these important documents and carefully draft them, we also advise your attorneys and ensure that they have the support they need if the time ever arises where the LPA is needed.
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