A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal tool that allows you to state who you would like to make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so in the future. It lets you choose a person (or people) you trust to act for you. This person is referred to as your attorney.
There are two different types of LPA – property and financial affairs and health and welfare. Each type covers different decisions and there are separate application forms for each.
You can choose to make both types, or just one. You can have the same attorney for both, or you can have different attorneys.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
A property and financial affairs LPA covers decisions about your finances and property. If there comes a time when you can’t manage your finances anymore, the attorney will do this for you. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits, or selling your house. However, if you wish to, you can restrict their powers, or place conditions on what they can do. It can only be used once it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The OPG is responsible for the registration of LPAs.
If you so choose an LPA for property and financial affairs can be used even while you have the mental capacity to deal with these things yourself. This can be useful if you travel abroad regularly or if you become hosiptalised for a period of time.
This is something to discuss when giving your instructions to Andrew Revitt of Legacy Legal Services.
Health and Welfare LPA
A health and welfare LPA enables you to choose the person or persons you would wish to make personal decisions on your behalf about medical treatment or care or where you should live.
Unlike the property and financial affairs LPA the health and welfare LPA can only be used if you have lost mental capacity.
Why have a health and welfare LPA?
- Anyone who wishes to decide who they would want to make decisions about their health and welfare.
- If you want to give someone the ability to consent to or refuse life sustaining treatment.
If you don’t have a health and welfare LPA decisions may be made by the Court of Protection.
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney does not mean you are giving up control, but it enables your attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf, and in your best interests.
The Alzheimer’s Society statistics are that: –
- Right now there are around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK.
- There are 40,000 younger people with dementia in the UK.
- There are 25,000 people with dementia from black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.
- There will be 1 million people with dementia in the UK by 2025.
- Two thirds of people with dementia are women.
- The proportion of people with dementia doubles for every five-year age group.
- One in six people aged 80 and over have dementia.
While your Will makes sure your wishes are met after your death Lasting Powers of Attorney ensure that your wishes are met in the event that you lose capacity due to illness, dementia, accident, etc.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal tool, registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so yourself. The appointed person can manage your finances for you in the future if you reach a point where you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. They can also make decisions relating to your health and welfare.
The information here is for people living in England and Wales. The process is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.