Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint a nominated person(s) to make decisions on your behalf. There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA):
- Property & Financial Affairs – this gives your attorney the authority to make decisions about your property and financial affairs;
- Health & Welfare – this gives your attorney the authority to make decisions about your personal welfare and health care, including medical treatment.
Once the LPA has been drawn up it has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used by your attorney. Once registered the LPA can be used by your attorney, even if you still have mental capacity to deal with your affairs. Early registration is, nevertheless, recommended as the OPG can reject LPA’s for a variety of reasons. Once rejected, the LPA is regarded as invalid.
An LPA can only be made if the donor has the mental capacity to do so. Once capacity has been lost, an application to the Court of Protection is required to approve a deputy to deal with a person’s financial affairs. This is a much more lengthy and expensive process.
An attorney has to act in your best interests at all times and can only make a decision on your behalf if he has a reasonable belief that you have lost the mental capacity to make that particular decision.
We recommend that all adults make a Power of Attorney. They are as essential as Wills. They are particularly important for the elderly who are frail, in hospital or in a care home.
Health & Welfare Power of Attorney
Most people are concerned about who will make financial decisions for them but few people are concerned about their health care and personal welfare. Only a handful of clients chose to make a Health & Welfare lasting Power of Attorney.
We have, however, been made aware by clients that they have had difficulty in persuading the authorities to respect their wishes in relation to a loved one’s personal welfare (even though they are that person’s spouse) because they do not hold a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney covers decisions about health care as well as personal welfare. The Power of Attorney can only be used once the donor has lost mental capacity to make those decisions themselves. A Health & Welfare Power of Attorney would enable an attorney to make decisions about, for example, your daily routine (e.g. eating and what to wear) medical care, moving into a care home and life sustaining treatment.
We are aware of a case recently where a client wished to care for her husband at home. The local health board felt he should be in a care home. The wife had a battle with the local health board to get a package of care in place to enable her to care for him at home. She only had a Property & Financial Affairs Power of Attorney not a Health & Welfare Power of Attorney. Had she had the Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney then her ability to make decisions on behalf of her husband which she felt were in his best interests could not have been questioned.
Most people would prefer a trusted person to make those decisions on their behalf rather than having that decision imposed on them and their families by professionals. It is just as important to make Health & Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney as it is Property & Financial Affairs Powers of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which enables you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, Health & Welfare and Property & Financial Affairs. A Health & Welfare Power of Attorney can only be used by your attorney if you have lost mental capacity and are no longer able to make your own decisions. A Property & Financial Affairs Power of Attorney can be used by your attorney, once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, both when you have lost capacity and whilst you still have capacity but prefer to pass the day to day responsibility for some or all of your financial affairs to your attorney. A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made when you have mental capacity i.e. the ability to make your own decisions.
We prepare and register LPA’s for a fixed fee of £399 plus VAT. A discount will be offered if we prepare two Powers of Attorney for spouses, civil partners or co-habitees. There is a registration fee of £82 payable to the Office of the Public Guardian upon registration of the Power of Attorney.