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Lasting Power of Attorney
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If you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself due to illness or an accident, then the
Court of Protection will consider you to be a 'vulnerable adult' and step in to take over unless you legally appoint somebody to do this for you.
You can only give that authority in a registered legal document called
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
When someone has lost capacity, a written letter to the bank simply won't work!
Even if you're married and have joint accounts, an LPA for Property and Finance is absolutely essential otherwise you could lose access to money held in them if one of the account holders loses capacity.
These are what we are busiest with right now.
There are two separate types of LPA: Property & Finance and Health & Welfare.
Read Heather Bateman's story or watch her interview on BBC's the One Show if you would like to learn more about happens if you have an accident or illness
and you don't have a Property & Finance LPA in place
Every UK adult should have at least one of these prepared and registered.
Lasting power of attorney - points to note
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity at some time in the future or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
There are two types of LPA:
for financial decisions
for health and care decisions
1. LPA for financial decisions
This can be used while someone still has mental capacity. An attorney (the person who makes decisions for you) can generally make decisions on things such as:
buying and selling property
paying the mortgage
arranging repairs to property.
2. LPA for health and care decisions
This covers decisions about healthcare as well as personal welfare and can only be used once a person has lost mental capacity. An attorney can generally make decisions about things such as:
where you should live
your medical care
what you should eat
who you should have contact with
what kind of social activities you should take part in.
You can restrict or specify the types of decisions your attorney can make or you can allow them to make all decisions on your behalf.
If you’re setting up an LPA for financial decisions, your attorney must keep accounts and make sure their money is kept separate from your money.
You can request regular details of how much is spent and how much income you have. This offers you an extra layer of protection. If you lose mental capacity, these details can be sent to your solicitor or a family member.
Lasting powers of attorney were introduced in October 2007, replacing the old system of enduring power of attorney (EPA). An EPA created before October 2007 remains valid but is more limiting and doesn't have the extensive powers of the newer Lasting power of attorney (LPA).
For example, an EPA doesn't cover any health and welfare decisions and its use for managing finances is limited compared to an LPA.
When is a lasting power of attorney valid?
An LPA will only be valid if you have:
the mental capacity to set it up
you have not been put under any pressure to create it.
It must be your decision and you must be able to trust your attorney, as you're giving them extensive power to make decisions about your life.
The LPA must be signed by a certificate provider who confirms that you understand it and haven’t been put under any pressure to sign it. They must be someone you know well or a professional person, such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor.
The LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used.
You must register the LPA while you have the mental capacity to do so.
The LPA can’t be used during the registration process which takes at least four weeks.
You can contact the OPG if you need to find out if your LPA has been registered.
If you lose mental capacity but signed the LPA while you still had mental capacity, the attorney can register it for you.
You can get a certified copy from the OPG for a fee.
The Childrens Books Author tells her heartbreaking story of her struggle to manage her affairs following her husband's accident and the hardship suffered due to the lack of a valid LPA.
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