Are you looking to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)? This guide explains what a Lasting power of attorney is, and how JMR Solicitors can help you create your LPA.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which appoints people you trust either from your family or friends, (called attorneys) to look after your financial and your personal affairs should you become unable to look after them yourself.
It is crucial that such preparations are made while you are fit and healthy and have the mental capacity to do so as the law does not permit you to make such provisions after you have lost your mental capacity. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, which deal with different features of your life but are both important.
Not many of us are willingly wanting to think that we might lose our mental capacity or how we would manage with our financial affairs if we did. But if we look at the statistics, there are around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, of whom 40,000 are under 65, with this number forecast to surpass one million by 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Society – it is worth bearing in mind, particularly as there is a way to ease the possible burden on your relations should it happen to you.
It’s important to set up an LPA while you are still mentally capable, and a long time before you will need it. If you become mentally incapacitated in your old age and don’t have an LPA in place, your family can face extended, upsetting delays and expenditure in applying to the court to take control.
One thing we remind our clients, is that they shouldn’t think that because they have set up an LPA, they have lost control. By making the LPA, you can still choose whether it can be used either before, or only when, you lose mental capacity.
Different kinds of Power of Attorneys to consider:
There are different types of Power of Attorneys which includes:
- Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
- Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (P&F LPA)
- Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (H&W LPA)
The main difference is that a property and financial affairs LPA can be used while someone still has capacity if they want to choose so, while a health and welfare LPA can only be used once they have lost that capacity.
LPAs were introduced in October 2007, replacing the previous system of enduring powers of attorney (EPA) – although an EPA created before October 2007 is still valid. As legal documents that can be set up relatively easily with the help of a reputable solicitor who has experience with LPAs. The Lasting Power of Attorney documents are designed to be recognised by financial institutions, care homes and local authorities as well as tax, benefits and pensions authorities.
How do Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorneys work?
Like Property and Finance LPAs, H&W LPAs enable you to appoint a person (or people) of your choice as your attorney(s) to make decisions, with legal authority, on your behalf. H&W LPAs can only ever be used by your attorney(s) to make a decision on your behalf if you lack the mental capacity to make that decision yourself.
What kind of decisions do H&W LPAs cover?
Generally, H&W LPAs can make personal decisions on your behalf, such as what medicinal treatment and care you should have, where you should live and who is allowed visit you. H&W LPAs can also cover life supporting treatment choices.
Will my family be able to make these decisions for me without a H&W LPA?
Often your next of kin is the only person consulted about life sustaining treatment, such as resuscitation. Whilst your family are likely to be consulted on other issues, like living arrangements and visiting arrangements, they won’t have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf as your attorney(s) would.
Sometimes we find that the person’s next of kin and other family and friends may not be aware of the persons’ wishes or there may be disagreement between them. Having confided your plans and wishes to your LPA will make things easier all round.
What if I don’t have a H&W LPA?
If you don’t have a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney then sometimes Social Services or the Court of Protection must get involved, in the case where you don’t have the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
For Family Members wishing to make decisions for you, an application to the Court of Protection can be drawn-out, costly and tense at what would be an already hard time and could result in a verdict which is not consistent with your wishes.
How do I make a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you want to speak to a solicitor on putting in place a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, please get in touch with Marium Razzaq on 0161 491 3933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, please request to speak to the Family Law team to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
We have more Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on how to make a Lasting Power of Attorney here.