If you wish for someone to take care of your affairs for a long period then a lasting power of attorney can be applied for.
A lasting power of attorney covers your personal welfare and an additional one can cover your financial and property affairs. Unlike the old enduring power of attorney, a lasting power of attorney must be registered before it is valid.
I already have an Enduring power of attorney; do I need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney as well?
Enduring power of attorney (EPA) was the classification that was in place before Lasting Power of Attorneys. You can no longer make an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). However, if you made an EPA before October 1st 2007 and it was properly filled in, it is still lawful and can still be registered and used.
If you have a binding EPA, you don’t essentially need to make an LPA. Though, EPAs only cover decisions concerning finances and property (like the property and affairs LPA). They do not cover health and welfare decisions, so some people who have a valid EPA might also want to make a health and welfare LPA to cover decisions about their care or treatment.
Lasting power of attorney is intended to be used by people who are at risk of losing their mental capacity and as such, may become incapable of making important decisions.
When should a lasting power of attorney be made?
You should consider making a lasting power of attorney is you have been diagnosed with, or think that you are at risk from developing certain illnesses which may impair your judgement or prevent you from making important decisions in the future.
These illnesses include:
- Mental health problems
- Brain injury
- Alcohol or drug dependency
- Side effects of certain medical treatments
- Other illnesses or disabilities
You must make a lasting power of attorney whilst you are still capable of making decisions for yourself, as it is an important decision and requires your full mental capacity.
Different types of lasting power of attorney
There are two types of lasting power of attorney:
- Property and financial
- Personal welfare
Depending on your individual needs, you can make just one of the above or both. You do not have to make them both at the same time, and they do not have to appoint the same people to deal with every matter.
It is possible to make a lasting power of attorney to give a person authority to deal with certain types of matters. It is especially important to have expert legal assistance when drawing up this type of power of attorney, so that the attorney is clear about exactly what they will be authorised to do, and not do.
What can a Property and financial affairs attorney do?
A property and financial affairs attorney will be able to make decisions about things such as:
- Buying or selling property
- Welfare benefits and tax credits
- Bank, building society and other financial accounts
- Tax affairs
- Legal proceedings
Someone with a property and financial lasting power of attorney may be authorised to deal with all of the above, or only those that you choose.
This type of power of attorney must be registered before it becomes valid, however it can be used before a person loses their mental capacity.
What can a Personal welfare attorney do?
A personal welfare attorney will be able to make decisions about things such as:
- Living arrangements
- Day to day care including what you will eat and wear
- Contact arrangements with other people
- Access to personal information
As with property and financial attorneys, this type of attorney can be appointed to deal with all of the above or only certain things.
A personal welfare power of attorney can only be used once the person has lost their mental capacity. It must also be registered before it is valid.
How to make a lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney must be made while the person is still able to make decisions for themselves. To make a lasting power of attorney, the correct form must be completed and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
There are different forms for property and financial attorneys and for personal welfare attorneys and it is vital that the correct form is completed, and completed correctly.
If you would like a property and financial attorney as well as a personal welfare attorney, both forms will need to be completed. You do not need to complete these forms at the same time, but they must be completed while you are still able to make decisions for yourself.
If you have completed a form but do not wish to register the power of attorney yet, you can wait until a time that suits you. Furthermore, the person named as your attorney can still register the power of attorney at any time even after you have lost your mental capacity.
When you have made a lasting power of attorney you can request that certain people are notified when it is registered. This can help to protect you against fraud or making a power of attorney under pressure.
How to end a lasting power of attorney
There are a few ways to end a lasting power of attorney, including:
- The person who made the lasting power of attorney can cancel it, if they still have the mental capacity to make this decision
- The attorney can choose to no longer act as an attorney
- If the person who made the lasting power of attorney dies, it will come to an end.
- If either the person who made the lasting power of attorney, or the attorney themselves become bankrupt
If you want to make a lasting power attorney and want some legal help, then feel free to contact JMR Solicitors.