A professional Will helps to protect your loved ones and your assets after you’re gone, but it’s also important to make sure you own interests are looked after should you find yourself unable to make decision about your future. A Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) document is vital to ensure your affairs are handled according to your wishes if your ability to do so is affected by illness, injury or old age.
To find out more about arranging Lasting Powers of Attorney, read our FAQs below or get in touch with our friendly wills and probate team at Frances Lindsay & Co:
What does Lasting Powers of Attorney mean?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) enables you to appoint a representative to make decisions about your assets and welfare now or in the future if you are incapable of doing so yourself. An LPA is a legal document that sets out your intentions for your finances, care and affairs, such as medical treatment, the sale or maintenance of property, and taking care of any dependents.
Are there different types of LPA?
There are two main types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA):
- Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Health and Welfare LPA relates to your healthcare and personal welfare should you be unable to take care of yourself due to an accident, health condition or loss of mental capacity. This type of LPA involves appointing a representative to take responsibility for these aspects and following your preferences for care.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA transfers responsibility of any financial assets and/or property to your appointed attorney if you are mentally incapacitated in the future. This might include selling or managing property, paying bills, organising pensions, and dealing with any savings, debts or investments.
What is Enduring Powers of Attorney?
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) has now been replaced by Property and Financial Affairs LPA and enables your appointed representative to make decisions regarding your property and financial affairs. However, if you arranged an EPA prior to October 2007 it can still be brought into effect.
What happens if I don’t have an LPA?
If you do not set up an LPA, a deputyship will be appointed by the Court of Protection. You can apply to be someone’s Deputy if you meet the appropriate criteria and the Office of the Public Guardian will support you in carrying out your responsibilities. To avoid the complication and stress of appointing a Deputy, it’s important to appoint Lasting Powers of Attorney to safeguard your affairs.
Who can I appoint as my LPA representative?
It’s important to choose someone you trust to handle your affairs as an LPA, such as a family member, friend, your solicitor, or a professional advisor. If you wish to appoint more than one Attorney, they can act jointly or severally (i.e. making decisions together or individually). You can also appoint a replacement Attorney to act in place of your first choice in the event that they are unable to do so.
To act as an Attorney your chosen representative:
- Must be aged over 18
- Must be someone you trust to handle your affairs
- Must not be bankrupt (if appointed to a Property and Financial Affairs LPA)
What are the duties of an appointed Attorney?
Your Attorney is responsible for making decisions appropriate to the LPA in your best interest, following your preferences for financial or welfare management, and maintaining confidentiality. They must only make decisions according to the terms set out by the LPA and they are not allowed to delegate their powers to others without the authorisation of the LPA or make decisions on your behalf unless you have been assessed to have lost mental capacity to do so.
What does ‘lack of capacity’ include?
An individual can lose physical or mental capacity at any age due to illness or injury, or they may lose the ability to make important decisions regarding their affairs later in life due to old age or dementia. In each case, ‘lack of capacity’ means that the individual is unable to understand and manage their finances and/or welfare. An individual may be able to retain responsibility for some decisions while requiring assistance for others. Capacity is assessed by a wide range of professionals such as doctors, solicitors and social workers, and every case is assessed on an individual basis.
When does a Lasting Power of Attorney come into effect?
An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) but will not be put into effect until the individual has lost capacity to manage their affairs. An LPA can be registered as soon as it has been drawn up and will be stored safely by your solicitor and only put into use when required.
Can I object to an LPA set up for someone else?
Yes, if you disagree with the terms of an LPA or choice of attorney being appointed for a loved one, you can make an application to the Court of Protection to object.
At Frances Lindsay & Co we have over 50 years’ experience in handling wills, probate, and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Let our friendly family law solicitors help you to protect your future, your assets, and your loved ones with a professional set of ‘life reassurance’ documents. To get in touch, visit www.franceslindsay.co.uk, call us on 01628 634667, or make an appointment at our offices in Beaconsfield or Maidenhead. Our legal services cover the whole of the Thames Valley, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, including Windsor, Henley, Marlow, Gerrards Cross and High Wycombe.lasting powers of attorney, wills and probate