Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were unable to make decisions for yourself or if you had an accident and could not communicate or were debilitated in any way?
It is a difficult thought, but it is important to plan for such scenarios.
This is where a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) comes into play.
Lasting Power of Attorney
An LPA is a legal document that designates someone to act as an attorney for an individual if they become incapable of managing their own affairs.
Essentially, it ensures that your interests are protected even if you cannot make decisions yourself.
There are two main types of LPAs to consider:
- Property and financial affairs LPA, which grants authority over financial matters including your house.
- Health and welfare LPA, which allows decisions to be made regarding the individual’s well-being.
Registering an LPA
Once you have signed an LPA, it is crucial to register it with the Office of the Public Guardian.
This process might take several months, so it is wise to get it registered promptly to ensure it is ready for use if the need arises.
It is important to understand the responsibilities of an attorney under an LPA.
An attorney must act in the best interests of the individual, taking into account their values and preferences.
Additionally, they should stay within the scope of the LPA and maintain precise records of financial transactions and decisions made on behalf of the individual.
For a property and financial affairs LPA, an attorney can handle various financial matters, such as managing investments, accessing bank accounts for bill payments, and even making small cash gifts on the individual’s behalf.
On the other hand, a health and welfare attorney can make decisions about where the individual will live, their daily routine, medical treatment, and more.
The key is to always ensure that decisions made on behalf of the individual are in their best interests and align with the principles outlined in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which emphasise the individual’s rights and freedoms.
Planning ahead with an LPA can provide peace of mind for both you and your loved ones, ensuring that your wishes are respected and your best interests are safeguarded, even if you’re not able to voice them yourself.
If you want to learn more about LPAs, our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team can offer you lots of advice on 01772 799 600.
Article by Rebecca Harrison