A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that sets out a person’s wishes in the event that they are unable to make decision on their own behalf in the future, due to illness, disability, old age, or lack of mental capacity.
Being appointed to manage someone else’s affairs may involve a range of responsibilities and requirements, and will depend largely on the type of powers of attorney they have in place.
There are two main types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:
Health and Welfare
A health and welfare LPA deals with decisions about the donor’s well-being and care when they have lost full capacity, such as: day-to-day care, choices about healthcare, treatment, and where they live or are cared for. An LPA may cover all aspects of personal welfare or only relate to certain issues, for example where they would prefer to live if they are unable to care for themselves. Due to the unpredictable and sometimes urgent nature of health and welfare issues, you may need to make decisions quickly based on the guidance set out in the LPA.
Property and Financial Affairs
A property and financial affairs LPA gives an attorney the authority to manage a person’s assets and make decisions about financial issues such as: buying or selling property, accessing bank accounts and savings, claiming benefits, dealing with tax issues and handling debts.
As an attorney, you may be given the authority to handle every aspect of the donor’s financial and property affairs, or they may be limited.
Remember that you have been placed in a position of trust and should always put the best interests of the donor first. It’s also important to keep records of all the decisions you make on behalf of the donor, whether financial, personal, or relating to care and welfare.
Having an LPA in place is just as important as having an up-to-date will. The Office of the Public Guardian believes that all adults over the age of 18 should make an LPA to ensure that someone they trust can make decisions on their behalf should they lose the ability to do so later in life.