A brief introduction to Lasting Powers of Attorney

Whilst most people understand what a Will is and the significance of having such a document, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) can often be overlooked. You may have heard of LPAs but are unsure as to what they are and when they are required.

We aim to give you a brief explanation of what LPAs are and explain the reasons why they are one of the most important documents that you can put in place for your future.

What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you, as the donor, appoint people, such as family and close friends, to make decisions on your behalf if and when you are unable to do so in the future. Those people are referred to as your attorneys.

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney; they are the Property and Finances LPA and the Health and Welfare LPA.

Property and Finances LPA

The Property and Finances LPA provides your attorneys with the authority, amongst other things, to:

  • Buy and sell property on your behalf
  • Pay bills on your behalf
  • Manage your bank accounts, savings and investments
  • Pay for repairs and the upkeep of your property
  • Withdraw money to buy items that you require, such as food
  • Manage your tax affairs

This LPA is flexible in that you can choose to allow your attorneys to make these decisions whilst you still have capacity, with your permission, or you can restrict their use so that they can only be used if you lose mental capacity.

Health and Welfare LPA

The Health and Welfare LPA provides your attorneys with the authority to make decisions relating to:

  • Where you live
  • The day to day care that you receive, such as what food you eat
  • The giving or refusing of medical treatment on your behalf

Unlike the Property and Finances LPA, the Health and Welfare LPA can only be used in a situation where you have lost capacity.

Why create Lasting Powers of Attorney?

With the increased understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia in recent years, it is now clear that there can come a point in which you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself regarding your financial affairs or healthcare. Unfortunately, in this situation your relatives do not have an automatic right to manage your affairs on your behalf.

Where you do not have LPAs in place, it will often fall to the Local Authority to make decisions regarding the care that you receive. If your relatives wished to be able to manage your financial affairs, they would have to apply for a Deputyship Order at the Court of Protection which can be a costly and time-consuming process.

Lasting Powers of Attorney are therefore crucial in allowing you to provide authority to your relatives in advance at a time when you still have capacity, so that they can make decisions for you should you lose capacity in the future.

We hope you have found this short blog helpful and informative.

Contact us, we are here to help

If you would like to arrange a consultation regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact our Private Client team on 0151 281 9040.