A lasting power of attorney can help you plan for the future in case of an accident, stroke or illness such as dementia.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document giving legal authority to a person you nominate to act on your behalf should you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
An LPA for Property and Financial Affairs covers decisions regarding property and money. If you make a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and register it with the Office of the Public Guarding our attorney cannot act without your permission whilst you still have capacity. However, should you find that you are finding it hard to manage your own affairs you can ask you attorney to assist or act on your behalf.
An LPA for Health and Welfare covers all medical and personal welfare decisions. Your attorney cannot act on behalf until you have lost mental capacity.
Should you lose capacity through an accident, illness or dementia your attorney can step in and make decisions on your behalf. Appointing an attorney ensures the person acting on your behalf is somebody you trust to look after your affairs.
What if you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place before losing capacity your bank accounts would be frozen and someone will have to apply to the Court of Protection to manage your affairs. This may not be the person who you would want to handle your affairs. Applying for deputyship can be very costly and take up to 6 months. Lasting Powers of Attorney are therefore cheaper and allow you to appoint a family member or trusted friend to act on your behalf.
Lasting Powers of Attorney have built in safeguards. Your attorney must always act in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and should there be concerns about how an attorney is acting the Court of Protection has the power to remove them.