An LPA is a document under which one person (the 'Donor') chooses one or more persons (the 'Attorney(s)') to make decisions on their behalf at some point in the future if they can't look after things for themselves.
Although any Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) made before then will still be valid, you can't make a fresh EPA after that date - you now have to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) instead.
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Property and Affairs LPA
This allows your Attorney to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your property and affairs including paying your bills, dealing with your bank account, selling your house etc.
You can appoint an Attorney to manage your financial affairs even you still have capacity to manage them for yourself (for example you might have difficulty signing cheques, or you might be going abroad for a long time and want someone to look after things in your absence), as well as when you lack capacity.
Personal Welfare LPA
This allows your Attorney to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your personal welfare, including whether to accept or refuse medical treatment, decide where you live etc. These decisions can only be taken on your behalf by your Attorney if you cannot make them yourself, e.g. you may be unconscious.
Both types of LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used. This process of registration can take four months or more, so if you think you might need LPA in the near future, you would be better to get on and make it now.
Anyone who is over 18 and who has capacity. You cannot make an LPA jointly with another person, each person must make his or her own LPA.
An LPA is a very powerful document and so care should be taken to ensure that you choose somebody you trust. You need to need to be sure they will make decisions which are in your best interests. You can appoint a family member, friend or anyone willing to act so long as they are over 18. You could also appoint a professional person.
If you choose more than one attorney they can be appointed to act together (both attorneys to sign everything) or together and independently (either attorney to sign). You can also appoint a replacement attorney who can step in should your original attorney become incapable of acting.
You don't have to have a solicitor to make a Lasting Powers of Attorney. However, the forms are quite complicated to fill in, and it is easy to get them wrong. If you do, the form may be invalid and you will have to start the procedure of completing them all over again. If this happens, you may find the donor has lost capacity by the time the error comes to light. In that case the LPA can no longer be made and you end up applying for a deputy to be appointed.
Making a Lasting Powers of Attorney with a solicitor is not expensive and can save time and money in the long run. If you feel that you would like to have an LPA, please contact one of our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team who would be delighted to chat it through with you further.
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