POWERS OF ATTORNEY
Most people will consider what will happen to their money and property if they die but very few people consider what would happen if they were suddenly unable to manage their own affairs and make their own decisions. It is important to consider what you would do if you suddenly had a stroke, a serious accident or in the event that you developed dementia without having someone who can make decisions on your behalf.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document made while you still have mental capacity to nominate a trusted relative or friend to look after your affairs and make decisions on your behalf.
Many people wrongly believe that they only need a LPA as they get older in case they should develop dementia. Whilst this is a reason to make an LPA, it is important for everyone who owns a property or who has any sort of bank account or other financial matters to deal with to put these arrangements in place whilst you are fit and well. Anyone over the age of 18 can make a LPA and people of all ages can lose capacity through serious accident. Once you have lost capacity it is too late to make a LPA.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney for:
Health and Care Decisions
Lasting Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions
If someone has difficulties that mean they can’t make decisions, they will need help managing their finances. Making a LPA doesn’t mean that you have to give up control of your finances. You can choose whether your LPA can be used once it is made and registered or only in the event that you lose mental capacity to handle your affairs yourself.
Unless you’ve made a LPA, if you lose capacity and are unable to manage your finances someone will have to apply to the Court to be appointed to act on your behalf. This may not be the person you would choose and can be a long and expensive process.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Care Decisions
If you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself a health and care LPA allows you to choose one or more trusted persons to make decisions on your behalf. They can make decisions about anything to do with your health and care including consenting to or refusing medical treatment on your behalf, deciding where you are cared for and the type of care you receive and make decisions on day-to-day things like your diet, dress and daily routine. The LPA for health and care can only be used if you lose mental capacity to make decisions for yourself, it cannot be used at any other time. Making a health and care LPA gives you the reassurance that if the time comes the right people are able to carry out your wishes and decisions won’t be made either by a stranger or someone you don’t trust.
Why should I use a solicitor to make my Lasting Power of Attorney?
Before your LPA can be used it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. If the forms are not completed correctly the Office of the Public Guardian will be unable to register your LPA and your LPA will not be valid.
At RJS Solicitors we understand the process of making and registering a LPA and will make sure that your wishes are followed and that your LPA will be valid if the time comes when you need to use it. We will explain the process of making your LPA in a way that is easy to understand and make the process simple.