An LPA is a legal document which allows you to stay in control of your affairs if a time comes when you are unable to make decisions about your finances or health yourself. It allows you to give legal authority to a person (or people) of your choice who will then be able to manage and make decisions for you after that time.
There are two types of LPA – you can do one or both.
The first covers financial and property decisions, like managing your bills, bank accounts and investments or selling your house. This can be used before you have lost capacity, but only if you permit, allowing family to help you out at a practical level.
The second type covers health and welfare decisions such as what type of health care or medical treatment you receive, where you live and day to day matters like exercise or diet. This can only be used if you have lost your own ability to make these decisions.
An LPA is a safeguard for the future. While you have your capacity you can make your own decisions without fear of interference from anyone. You might never need to use it, but accidents and illnesses can happen to any of us, at any time and at any age. We are all living longer and the incidence of degenerative conditions is on the increase.
If you own a business, you should have a conversation with me about why a separate business LPA might be necessary and appropriate.
If you lose mental capacity to make decisions and you do not have an LPA in place, no one is able to make decisions for you. It is a common myth that next of kin can do so.
Someone, maybe a person who you would not have chosen, will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship order. This is likely to be significantly more expensive, cumbersome and time consuming for your loved ones to do, and you have little control over it.
I can advise on which LPA you might need, who to choose as your attorney and I can tailor it to include safeguards to protect you from it being misused or abused, or provisions to suit your particular circumstances and wishes for eg, including provisions to provide for the maintenance of a disabled dependent.
DIY LPAs can be done online but like all legal documents, there is much more to it than you might think and if you get it wrong, the Office of the Public Guardian will reject it.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document where you authorise another person or persons (known as your "attorney(s)") to act for you if you have lost capacity and cannot make your own decisions.
There are two types of LPA:
You can have either or both types of LPA.
This type of LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about matters such as your medical treatment, your diet, where you live and how you spend your time. Unlike the LPA for property and financial affairs, your attorney can only use it after you have lost the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself.
Your attorney cannot make decisions about life-sustaining treatment unless you specifically allow this in the LPA. Life-sustaining treatment includes ventilation to help with breathing, feeding through a tube and resuscitation.
People often say that getting started is the hardest part of all. Because you are reading this, you should feel encouraged that you have already begun the process, and my job is to help you from here. Simply pick up the phone and call me or drop me a short email.