Why you should have a Lasting Power of Attorney…
19 December 2019 by Jane Golding
It is not always easy to admit that someone close and dear to you is getting old, or becoming more forgetful about things or suffering from ill-health. It could also be you that is suffering or deteriorating and require help.
It is important to put arrangements in place ahead of time so that the right financial help or the right healthcare can be provided when the time comes. You do not need to wait until signs of declining physical or mental health. If you want, you can prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs or Health & Welfare in advance.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) appoints an individual(s) to act within the role of “Attorney”. The Attorney can be a spouse/civil partner or friend, you could even appoint a Legal Representative to act within the role of Attorney. Whoever you appoint as your Attorney they will be able to make decisions that directly and personally affect you “the Donor”. For example, financial arrangements, healthcare you receive, where you live and even decisions on whether you would need to sell your house.
An LPA does not instantly give power to the named Attorney(s), it has to be triggered when the appropriate circumstances arise. This is often when the donor experiences a physical or mental decline.
The reasons why you should have an LPA can be an exhaustive list, but here are the most compelling arguments in favour of arranging this important document earlier in life.
- You control an LPA: You are able to nominate the person(s) you would want to act as your Attorney(s). If you are incapacitated without an LPA, decision making responsibilities could be awarded to anyone by the Court of Protection.
- There are two types of LPAs: You may require someone to help you with your finances, even if you are still mentally capable of managing your affairs in general. A Property & Financial LPA would be the application you would need to make appointing your Attorney(s). Or you may wish to appoint an Attorney to specifically decide on your Health care. You would need to make a Health & Welfare LPA. This latter application can only be used when you, the Donor, are no longer able to make your own decisions about healthcare and welfare. Nobody wishes to take your rights away from you until it is absolutely necessary.
- LPAs must be registered to come into effect: You cannot be coerced or forced to make an LPA. A Certificate Provider, which is either a professional or someone you trust, must verify that you know what you are agreeing to and that you have not been forced into signing the document. An LPA can only come into effect when it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
- You can name multiple Attorneys if you want: The Attorneys will then be able to make decisions together or separately. You could state limitations on the LPA however you must bear in mind that once you are mentally incapable you will be unable to lift such limits on the LPA. You do not want to restrict access to parts of your life that you will want your Attorney(s) to access later down the line. If you appoint more than one Attorney, this would ensure that you still have representation should one of your Attorneys die.
- You are protected: The Court of Protection can revoke LPAs and can be asked to rule on whether or not they are valid. The Office of the Public Guardian can be contacted if incidences of abuse by Attorney(s) are suspected or if they do not appear to be acting in the best interests of the Donor.
If Fisher Jones Greenwood can assist you in making an Application for a Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs or Health & Welfare, then please feel free to contact us on 01206 700113 or email [email protected] to arrange an appointment.