Lasting Power of Attorney

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and why is it so important?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime. The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called the Attorneys. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a completely separate legal document to your Will although many people put them in place at the same time as getting their Will written, as part of wanting to plan for the future.

Once you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you can have peace of mind that there is someone you trust to look after your affairs if you became unable to do so yourself during your lifetime. This may occur, for example, because of an illness or old age or an accident.

Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place allows your attorney to have authority to deal with your finances and property as well as make decisions about your health and welfare. Your Lasting Power of Attorney can include binding instructions together with general preferences for your attorney to consider. Your Lasting Power of Attorney should reflect your particular wishes so you know that the things that matter most would be taken care of.

You can only put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place whilst you are capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document i.e. you have the required legal capacity. After this point, you cannot enter into a LPA and no one can do so on your behalf.

Many people don’t know that their next of kin has no automatic legal right to manage their spouse’s affairs without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, so having to make decisions on their behalf can become prolonged and significantly more expensive.

The best solution is for couples to have ‘Mirror’ (identical) Lasting Powers of Attorneys because these documents would allow them to appoint each other to make decisions about each other’s financial affairs and health issues; should one of them lose capacity to do so.

If you do not put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place whilst you have capacity it will be necessary for someone to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.  This is a lengthy and costly process, often taking up to 12 months before a decision is made and costing in the region of £2500, with an annual renewal fee of about £500 possibly payable.

Full details will be given by your consultant during your meeting.