Lasting Powers of Attorney
If you are unable to make decisions for yourself because of an accident or illness, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows a person you trust to make decisions for you. In life we are confronted by any number of challenges, including unforeseen and sometimes life-changing accidents and ill health. These unexpected events can leave your family and friends faced with overwhelming difficulties managing your financial and personal affairs. Many assume that family and friends can make such decisions, only to find they have limited legal authority.
A Property and Affairs LPA gives your trusted person (your attorney) legal authority to access or make decisions about your financial affairs. If you are in hospital for any length of time or have lost mental capacity, without an LPA no-one can operate your bank accounts, pay your bills or deal with your state benefits. Family or friends would have to apply to the Courts for authority to act for you. The application is costly and time consuming and may not ultimately reflect your wishes.
A Personal Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make welfare and healthcare decisions for you if you’re no longer able to do so yourself. These can include where and with whom you should live, and decisions around your day to day care and your medical treatment.
We will draft documents that keep you in control and enable you to pass responsibility to someone you trust.
You can choose to set up a Property and Affairs LPA, or a Personal Welfare LPA, or both. In each case you will appoint an attorney, who is the person or people who you have chosen to look after your affairs. Often this is a family member or close friend, but can also be your solicitor. You can choose one or more attorneys and you can decide whether they must act together or independently. You can also choose successor attorneys if your chosen attorneys can no longer act for you.
What powers does an attorney have?
You can decide the extent of your attorney’s powers, including whether they are permitted to operate your bank accounts, deal with your investments and tax affairs, buy and sell property for you, or make decisions regarding your medical treatment.
What is an Advance Decision?
You may not want anyone else to make decisions for you regarding your welfare and medical care, and may prefer to make your own decisions in advance regarding refusal of medical treatment. To do so, you would need to put in place an Advance Decision.
Before October 2007 Advance Decisions or “Living Wills” were used as guidance by medical practitioners but were not legally binding. Now, if correctly drafted, an Advance Decision is legally binding upon anyone treating you. It is important that the document is specific and anyone making an Advance Decision should take legal advice to ensure that the document is valid.
How we can help
We can help you to clarify which decisions you want your attorney to make for you, as well as those you don’t.
We will ensure that your documents are drafted to reflect your wishes accurately, then register your signed LPA to make it valid and legally binding. You retain the right to cancel your LPA at any time whilst you continue to have mental capacity.