A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which enables you to decide who you trust to make decisions about your finances, property or healthcare, in the event you are no longer able to do so.
Age-related issues such as dementia are often the reason that people are no longer able to make such decisions. However, this could also be caused by an accident or by illness.
Without a Power of Attorney, those closest to you could be faced with an application to the Court of Protection to give them authority to act on your behalf. The application process for being appointed as Deputy can take a long time and the costs are higher for the LPA process. In addition, the decision as to who should act on your behalf is made by the Court, rather than by you.
There are two types of LPAs:
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives your Attorneys authority to manage your finances. This includes the day to day management as well as significant decisions such as selling your home and investing the proceeds to provide an income in the event you need to go into residential care.
Under a Health and Welfare LPA your Attorney will have authority to make personal welfare decisions on your behalf, including decisions about life-sustaining treatment where you specifically authorise this. These decisions can only be made on your behalf if you lack the capacity to make them yourself. We can also advise on how a Health and Welfare LPA can interact with an Advance Decision (also known as a Living Will).
We advise you on the process of creating and registering LPAs and draft the LPAs for you to ensure that they accurately reflect your wishes and includes all the provisions that your attorneys may need in due course. This may include:
If you would like to speak to someone at TWM Solicitors about putting in place LPAs, please contact a member of our Private Client Team. It is helpful if you have also completed the attached questionnaire: LPA client guide.
Since October 2007, it has no longer been possible to put in place a new EPA or to make changes to an existing one. However, EPAs signed before that date are generally valid.
If the person who has made a valid EPA begins to lose mental capacity to manage their own affairs, their Attorneys will need to register the EPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. We can assist you with this process, prepare the necessary notice and application paperwork, and advise you on the implications of registration for the person who has lost capacity and their Attorneys.
Unlike LPAs and EPAs, General Powers of Attorney do not continue to be effective if the person who has made it loses mental capacity. However, they can be valuable if you need someone to be able to carry out administrative tasks on your behalf. For example, if you are a party to a transaction and are going to be physically unable to sign sale or purchase documents, perhaps because you are going abroad at the relevant time. We can advise on the process and implications and draft the necessary paperwork.
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