A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is more than a legal agreement. It is your peace of mind that, should you no longer be able to make important decisions for yourself, someone you trust to have your best interests at heart will make those choices for you. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, you may find yourself in the hands of a stranger who does not know you or understand your priorities. Not having an LPA in place can leave you vulnerable and your family unable to act on your behalf.
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A Lasting Power of Attorney lets you decide who you want looking after you and your affairs if you are unable to make important decisions. This may be due to dementia or old age, or it may be caused by illness or an injury. An LPA is a legal document that allows you to state what you wish to happen in specific circumstances, as well as things you would like taken into consideration. It gives you a legal voice even if your physical voice has gone.
Don’t assume your next of kin will be able to make these decisions without an LPA. Even your spouse does not have the legal right to manage your financial or medical affairs on your behalf without your prior agreement. An example showing just how important it is to have a Lasting Power of Attorney relates to a married couple who had separate bank accounts. Major bills, including their mortgage, were debited from the husband’s account, and the wife would manually transfer money from her account to his every month to cover her share. The wife suffered a serious head injury in a car accident, leaving her husband not only with the worry about her health but also insufficient money to pay the mortgage. Instead of having a Lasting Power of Attorney that he could provide to her bank to arrange a transfer of the money, he had to apply to the Court of Protection with the request to be allowed to manage his wife’s affairs. This is not only a costly process, it is also a long drawn out process that can take months.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be enforced after you lose the mental ability to make decisions yourself legally. It relates to:
Written while you are of sound mind, a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to state your wishes concerning nursing home care or invasive medical treatments designed to preserve life at any cost, rather than consider your quality of life. You can even say what you do and do not like in relation to your daily routine, food and hobbies. A stranger appointed by a court will make decisions based on what they believe to be in your best interests on paper, but without knowing you or understanding your likes and dislikes the way your family or close friends do, they cannot possibly make the right choices for you.
A Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney covers:
The circumstances when this can be used are more flexible than the Health and Welfare LPA. You can specify that it should only be enforced if you lose your mental ability, or you may want to state that it can be utilised during periods of illness, or if you are regularly out of the country and need a legal representative to handle your financial affairs. Alternitively you can specify that it is to be effecitive immediately upon registration.
Once the document has been prepared and signed by all parties it is sent to the Office of the Public Guardian. Once the LPA has been acknowledged by them, they will wait for a period of 4 weeks before processing it to allow time for any objections from concerned parties. You can expect to receive your registered LPA from the Office of the Public Guardian within 8-12 weeks after submission.
A simple Power of Attorney, costs £350 plus VAT plus the registratation fee of £82. If you have both Power of Attorneys the cost is £600 plus VAT plus the registration fee for each. This is certainly far less than the cost if you do not have a Power of Attorney and need to apply to the Court of Protection in an emergency. Get in touch today for more information.
You can make an LPA at any time whilst you have mental capacity and therefore understand what you are agreeing to. If you are business owner, you should have a business LPA as part of your disaster plan. When considering your mental capacity you should keep in mind that you can lose mental capacity at any time through accident or illness and not just by developing dementia.
A Power of Attorney ceases when the Donor dies, and the responsibility for managing the finances of their estate transfers to the Executor nominated in their will (or whoever is appointed by the court if the Donor dies intestate). Spencers Solicitors can help with Lasting Power of Attorney Chesterfield, or any question you have regarding Power of Attorney, Wills or Probate. Enquire today.
It allows a person(s) of your choice to handle all of your property and financial affairs should you become physically or mentally incapable of doing so yourself.
It allows a person(s) of your choice to make decisions about your health including end of life care and about your day to day care including what you eat ,wear, your personal hygiene regime etc.
Property and Financial LPA’s are also used by people who own their own business, or who have a joint business account where all signatures are required. Not being able to access company money in the event of your illness or incapacitation could mean your business suffers unnecessarily. Who will authorise payment for the order of stock, or sign off the payroll so employees are paid? Without a LPA in place your partner’s hands are tied and your livelihood is at risk.
Enquire online now, or give us a call, to find out how we can assist you to set up Lasting Power of Attorneys. To help, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about LPAs. If your question is not answered here or you want any more information, our experienced legal team will be happy to give you their expert advice.