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Lasting Powers of Attorney

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For many people, there unfortunately comes a time whereby they no longer have the mental capacity to handle their own affairs, whether due to old age, injury, or illness. To prepare for these potential circumstances, having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place is well advised.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which permits an individual (known as the donor) to appoint a trusted person (known as the attorney) to handle their affairs, and make decisions on their behalf.

LPAs are used where a donor no longer possesses the mental capacity to manage their affairs. If specified, an LPA may also be used where a donor possesses mental capacity, yet prefers or requires support.

There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney. An LPA for property and financial affairs attorney is legally permitted to manage the donors finances, for example, their accounts, investments, bills, purchases, or the sale of property.

An LPA for health and welfare can legally manage matters such as daily care, health care and medical treatment, general welfare, or living arrangements.

The specific permissions and responsibilities that an attorney gains under an LPA will vary according to the donor’s needs and wishes, all of which will be established when the Last Power of Attorney is created.

How does a Lasting Power of Attorney work?

A person must still possess mental capacity at the time of creating an LPA. If a person who has lost capacity needs support with their health or financial matters, a loved one will need to apply to gain Deputyship through the Court of Protection.

When creating an LPA, the donor must first choose an attorney or attorneys, and notify them, ensuring that they consent to taking on this responsibility, and are a suitable choice.

Once the LPA has been approved and processed, the LPA is then registered with the OPG. The Lasting Power of Attorney may be activated either when the donor loses mental capacity, or be activated immediately, depending on what the donor has chosen when creating the LPA.

Where a person still possesses mental capacity, yet wants immediate help with their financial or health affairs, immediate activation of the LPA is more suitable.

Any conditions or restrictions on what the attorney is permitted to do under the LPA can be included in the document. The donor is able to allocate the attorney’s permissions according to what they wish, and need, or are likely to need in the future.

Who should put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place?

If you are concerned about your own health, we recommend that you put an LPA in place whilst you are able. This ensures that, if you need support with your affairs in the future, your appointed loved one will have the legal permissions that they need to help you.

Equally, you may not have particular concerns about your health at this time, but simply wish to be well prepared for a future where you may require support.

An LPA allows you to choose who will make decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself, and so, virtually any person who wishes to prepare for this possibility is advised to create one.

Many assume that if they were to lose mental capacity, that their spouse would automatically be permitted to deal with their affairs. However, this is not the case, a spouse would not have the legal authority to deal with their partners assets, unless they had been appointed as an attorney.

Contact us

Our private client team can provide support for donors wishing to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, as well as legal guidance for those who have been asked to act as attorneys.

To discuss your legal needs, please contact your local Chattertons office, or use our enquiry form, and a member of the team will be in touch.