It is a sad fact of life that some of us will, through ill-health or even a tragic accident, lose our ability to make decisions for ourselves. This can leave loved ones in a very difficult situation as they may be unable to deal with our finances, our bills, our property and even our personal welfare in the way in which we would have liked. It can be reassuring to know that there are means by which our wishes will be respected even if we are unable to make our own decisions.
If you want someone that you trust to be able to take care of your financial and property affairs for you or make decisions about your health and welfare, should the worst happen, you can make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
Where a person becomes incapable of making their own decisions without having made an LPA, their assets are frozen until the Court of Protection has appointed a 'Deputy' to look after them. This can be a lengthy process, and in the meantime bills can remain unpaid and important decisions put on hold.
Appointing an Attorney before you actually need one gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your affairs will be managed how you want them to be. It is not possible to make an LPA once you are unable to make your own decisions, so if you think you might benefit from an LPA in the future, it is something that should consider putting in place as soon as possible.
Some people are worried about making an LPA as they think that once it is made they immediately lose control of their affairs. Please be assured that an LPA is purely a precautionary measure – as long as you retain mental capacity, you continue to remain in control.
Who can I appoint as an Attorney to look after my affairs?
You can appoint anyone, whether that be a family member or a friend, whom you trust absolutely and whom you feel has the experience and ability to manage your affairs and will make all decisions in your best interests. If you want to, you can appoint more than one person.
It is important to note, however, that your Attorney cannot make a Will on your behalf. If you have not already made a Will then you should also consider this now.
One of the biggest advantages of having an LPA is that you know that a person of your choosing has been appointed to take care of your affairs. If you were to lose capacity without having made an LPA that choice would be made by a Court, and, the person appointed will not necessarily be the person you would have chosen.
Are there different types of LPA?
There are two different types of LPA available to you, depending on which area of your life you would like your Attorney to take care of.
Property & Financial LPA
This gives your Attorney the authority to deal with matters such as paying your debts, dealing with your tax affairs and welfare benefits, dealing with your bank accounts, buying or selling a property on your behalf, making investment decisions and, any involvement you may have in legal proceedings.
Health & Welfare LPA
This gives your Attorney authority to make decisions about things like where you live, your day-to-day care, including what you wear and what you eat, your healthcare and medical treatment (including the ability to consent to or decline life-sustaining treatment), what contact, if any, you should have with certain other people, and access to your personal information. You can make an LPA which deals with all aspects of your personal welfare, or only certain things.
How can we help you?
Here at hpjv solicitors, we can help you with all aspects of creating a professionally made LPA – from choosing an attorney and helping you decide what type of LPA is right for you, to correctly registering the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian to ensure it becomes legally valid.
It may be that you have a close relative or friend whom you feel would benefit from an LPA. Again, our professional team can help guide them through all aspects of creating this important document.
Please remember: whether it is you or a relative or a friend who may be interested in making an LPA, it must be made while you, or they, are still able to make informed decisions. If there are any doubts about capacity, we can advise on a professional assessment if needs be.
We offer a free 30 minute consultation either by phone or at our offices, to enable you to make an informed decision as to whether an LPA is right for you, and, if so, the type of LPA that best suits your needs.
We are able to arrange home and hospital visits at no extra cost (subject to location) for clients with a disability or who would otherwise be unable to attend our offices.
PLEASE CONTACT OUR PROBATE TEAM FOR PRICES AND FURTHER INFORMATION.