Maria Pusey, a Trainee Chartered Legal Executive in Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate Department details her answers to the most common questions she has dealt with concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity at some time in the future or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
Lasting Powers of Attorney were introduced in October 2007, replacing the old system of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA). An EPA created before October 2007 will remain valid however these documents can only be registered for use by your Attorney once you have insufficient mental capacity to manage your own affairs.
The role of Attorney involves a great deal of responsibility so it is important that you trust the person you choose. Think carefully about whether there’s someone you believe would be able to carry out the role and make decisions in your best interests.
Your Attorney could be a family member, a friend, your spouse, partner or civil partner. Alternatively, they could be a professional, such as a Solicitor.
There are 2 types of LPA:-
A ‘Property and Financial’ Affairs LPA: This can be used whilst you still have mental capacity. An Attorney (the person who makes decisions for you) can make decisions on things such as paying bills, managing your finances or selling/buying property on your behalf.
A ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA: This can only be used after you have lost mental capacity and deals with decisions regarding your care such as where you will live and your social arrangements. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.
If there does come a time in the future when you don’t have the mental capacity to make a particular decision, and you haven’t created a valid LPA or EPA, it may be necessary for the Court of Protection to become involved.
Someone who wants to make decisions on your behalf can apply to the Court to be appointed as Deputy. This is a similar role to that of Attorney.
You can’t choose your Deputy and the process of appointing one can be lengthy and costly. Therefore I believe it is much better to have an LPA in place.
For further information regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact Maria Pusey of Astle Paterson on 01283 531366 or by way of email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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