Why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If there ever comes a time where you’re unable to make decisions for yourself, with the onset of dementia for example, having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) will ensure there is someone you trust who is legally allowed to make important decisions on your behalf.

By ensuring somebody is designated to make decisions for you, your wishes can continue to be met for the rest of your life.

Creating an LPA means that a spouse, sibling or qualified professional will be empowered to make decisions on your behalf, but only if you are mentally incapacitated and cannot make the decisions yourself.

If you lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA in place then your family must apply to The Court of Protection for a Deputyship order, because no one not even your spouse has the automatic right to manage your affairs. This process can take months and can leave crucial decisions about your welfare in limbo.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

A Lasting Powers of Attorney is a legal document, registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, in which you appoint one or more people to make decisions for you if you become mentally incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions.

These decisions fall into two categories, and therefore there are two separate types of LPA:

A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney the right to make decisions regarding your medical care. In general, most decisions will relate to:

  • Deciding on your living arrangements in case you require care
  • Planning your social activities 
  • Deciding what kinds of medical care and treatments you’ll receive
  • Planning your end-of-life care
  • Making decisions regarding life-support treatments 

Remember for a Health and Welfare LPA your attorney can only start to make these decisions for you once you are no longer capable yourself.

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorney to make decisions regarding your finances and property. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorney to:

  • Access your bank and saving accounts 
  • Pay your bills and mortgage payments
  • Buy and sell investments
  • Arrange property repairs
  • Sell and buy pieces of property 

A Property and Finance LPA can be used by the attorney with the donor’s permission whilst the donor still has capacity. For example, if you were overseas and something needed to be done at your bank, you can instruct your attorney to act on your behalf.

When Should I Get an LPA?

Many people as they become older realise that they may lose their mental capacity. Just like having a Will in place having both types LPA’s set up means that they will be protected when the time comes that they can no longer make their own decisions.

Equally younger people should consider it too. None of us likes to think about what might happen if we are involved in an accident or have severe illness and lose mental capacity, but it can happen to any of us at any time, so having LPA’s organised is a sensible approach.

Are There Any Negatives? 

An LPA is a legally binding document, which can be intimidating for many to consider. 

First, when your attorney needs to start acting on your behalf, you’ll have to share all of your personal information with them. 

The person you appoint must be a person you trust as your attorney. Your attorney can be a family member or loved one, but it could also be for example, a solicitor. Regardless of whom you choose, you’ll need to be comfortable with sharing significant amounts of information with that person. 

Secondly, if you want your LPA to grant your attorney the right to make both medical and financial decisions on your behalf, you’ll need two separate LPA’s. This means that you’ll need to pay two separate registration fees with the Office of the Public Guardian. 

Finally, an LPA must be made while you have mental capacity. The process is more difficult and protracted if you lose capacity.  

What are the Advantages?

Having an LPA gives you peace of mind, it means you know there is someone you trust making decisions on your behalf and in your best interests when you can no longer do so. 

You’ll also have the ability to choose someone you trust to manage whatever situation arises. 

Crucially, an LPA prepares you for an uncertain future. We don’t like to think about what tomorrow could bring, but accidents or serious illness can happen at any time. 

If you need an LPA? 

Thinking about the future can be stressful but like having a Will creating both types of LPA prepares you and your family in advance.

At Savigny we believe that everyone should be treated with respect, kindness and receive a caring personal service. We are happy to spend time with you, understanding your needs and helping you to correctly fill out forms and applications so you can be confident it’s done correctly.

The LPA forms are relatively simple, but the registration process is long winded. Our guidance and understanding of the application process makes it less stressful for you. So, if you need an LPA please contact Savigny today.

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