Lasting Power of Attorney
The two key things we hold dear in life are our health and our freedom. But if you were no longer able to make decisions for yourself, because of an accident or an illness such as a stroke or dementia, or if you simply find it inconvenient to do so yourself, who would act on your behalf to carry out your personal and financial affairs? What if it became necessary to sell your house so you could move somewhere more practical? Or your partner or children needed to access your bank accounts, pension funds or investments to pay for your care, your bills or deal with other day-to-day financial matters?
Such things can become horribly complicated and time-consuming, adding to the distress of an already awful situation for your family. People often assume that a partner or child automatically takes over responsibility for their affairs if they are no longer able to manage. That is not the case. Your assets can be frozen and may be managed by the Court of Protection. Getting something called a Deputyship order from the Court can take many months and often at great expense.
Benefits of a Lasting Power of Attorney
You can put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place at any time – it doesn’t just have to take place when making a Will. An LPA allows you to nominate one or more attorneys, normally the spouse/partner, children, friends or a professional, to look after your affairs if you are unable, or unwilling, to do so yourself.
There are two types of LPA:
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
This covers decisions affecting your bank accounts, investments, bill payments, pensions and other assets, such as:
- How your finances and property are managed
- How your bills would be paid if you were unable to do this, i.e. physically incapacitated or out of the country for long periods of time
- How your assets would be dealt with, i.e. selling your house to move to residential care
Health and Welfare LPA
This applies to decisions around your medical and care needs as well as where you may live if you were to move into a care home. It includes:
- Giving or refusing consent to particular types of health care, including medical treatment decisions
- Deciding whether you continue to live in your own home or whether residential care would be more appropriate for you.
By putting LPAs in place, you can be assured that your assets, medical treatment, living arrangements and day-to-day life will be taken care of by someone of your choice, acting in your best interests.