Lasting Power of Attorney
Navigating the world of legal documents can feel like trying to decipher an alien language. But when it comes to safeguarding your future, understanding lasting power of attorney (LPA) is crucial. Our wills and probate lawyers are experts and can provide advice that can make all the difference to your and your family's future.
This legal document allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you lose mental capacity in the future. There are two kinds of LPA - one for financial matters and property and another for health and care decisions.
Setting up an LPA isn't as daunting as it sounds, but it's essential to get it right. From understanding their basics to navigating potential risks and getting professional help, we will cover it all below. But first:
Are you too young for an LPA?
You are never too young to have a lasting power of attorney (LPA) in place. So many people believe that they do not have to worry until they are over 55 years of age, when in fact, if you lead an active life such as skiing, mountain biking or any form of extreme sport, it may be worthwhile putting something much earlier.
An LPA is like taking out car insurance. You have car insurance in place, albeit it is a legal requirement, but it also gives you peace of mind because you hope you never have to use it. So, the policy goes into a drawer, and you forget about it. You need to do that with your LPAs: put them in a drawer and hope that your loved ones will never need to use them. The great thing is that you do not have to get a new one every year.
However, if the day comes when your LPA is needed, your loved ones will be so grateful that you had the forethought to put a lasting power of attorney LPA in place, which will enable them to make decisions on your behalf and ensure your financial and health issues are looked after when you are not able to do so for yourself.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is an important legal document that authorises someone to manage affairs if mental capacity is lost.
There are two types of LPA: Health and Welfare and Property and Financial affairs.
Attorneys can only act when mental capacity is lost or as soon as the LPA is registered.
It is crucial to arrange an LPA before losing mental capacity to ensure that trusted attorneys can carry out your wishes.
Understanding the Basics
So, you're thinking about setting up a lasting power of attorney with RG Law? Let's get down to the basics so you can understand exactly what this important legal step entails.
A lasting power of attorney is a crucial document that authorises someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity due to illness or injury. It isn't just for older people; accidents and illnesses can strike at any age, leaving you unable to manage your affairs.
There are two types of LPAs: one called a health and welfare LPA, which covers decisions about medical care and living arrangements, and one for property and financial affairs. The latter gives authority over finances, like paying bills or selling property. Remember, setting up an LPA while you still have mental capacity is essential.
Registering a lasting power of attorney involves applying through the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), with a fee involved unless certain exemptions apply. But don't worry – we're here to guide you through every step of this process.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's delve deeper into understanding the different types of LPAs and their respective roles in your life.
What types of Last Power of Attorney are there?
Property and Financial affairs
This LPA allows your Attorney(s) to deal with:
Paying your bills
Collecting income and benefits
Dealing with your tax affairs
Selling or buying your home
May have authority straight away or only for certain assets or only if you have lost mental capacity
Health and welfare
This LPA allows your Attorney(s) to deal with:
Where you live
Your medical and day-to-day care
Your diet, dress and visitation
Even whether to give or refuse life-sustaining treatment if you chose
Authority will only be effective if you have lost mental capacity
Removal and Cancellation
It's crucial for you to know that should things go awry, there are options in place to revoke or change the person who has been given authority over your affairs. You hold the right to remove your attorney under certain circumstances, but typically, it requires you to have mental capacity at the time. This is why it is advised that you seek the help of a professional such as a lawyer or a solicitor.
Here's what you need to understand about removing or cancelling an LPA:
If you have mental capacity and are unsatisfied with your appointed attorney, you can end their power of attorney status by contacting the Office of Public Guardian.
In case of misconduct by your attorney, such as misuse of finance or failing to act in your best interest, they can be removed.
If two attorneys were appointed jointly and disagreements arise between them causing disruption in decision-making, one can be removed.
A divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership may also lead to automatic revocation unless specified otherwise in the LPA document.
Lastly, if no replacement attorney was named and yours becomes bankrupt or dies, then the LPA ends automatically.
Understanding these possibilities provides security while making a big decision, like appointing an attorney, your probate lawyer or a solicitor can help you with this decision.
Frequently Asked Lasting Power of Attorney Questions
What happens if there is a disagreement between multiple attorneys appointed in an LPA?
If disagreements arise between multiple attorneys in an LPA, they should try to resolve it amicably. If they can't, they might need legal advice. In extreme cases, the Court of Protection may intervene.
Can an attorney withdraw from their role once an LPA is activated?
Absolutely, as an attorney, you have the right to step down from your role after an LPA is activated. However, you must inform the donor and Office of the Public Guardian about your decision formally.
Are there any circumstances in which an LPA might not be recognised by financial institutions or healthcare providers?
Yes, there can be situations where an LPA might not be recognised. These typically occur if the Lasting Power of Attorney isn't properly registered with the Office of the Public Guardian or if it hasn't been correctly completed and signed.
How can an individual ensure their wishes are respected if their mental capacity fluctuates over time?
Imagine playing a game of mental tug-of-war, where your capacity ebbs and flows. To ensure your wishes are respected, consider creating a Lasting Power of Attorney that triggers during periods of diminished capacity.
Can a Lasting Power of Attorney be set up for a business and how does it differ from a personal LPA?
Yes, you can set up a Business LPA. It's similar to a personal one but specifically deals with your professional interests. Unlike a personal LPA, it covers business operations and decisions if you lose capacity.
If you want to know more, click here to get in touch. Or you may require one of our Wills and Probate services. See below.