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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

It’s not something that we like to think of, losing our metal capacity, but sadly it is something that happens. If the worst happens it’s important to have someone looking after your best interests.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help make decisions on your behalf. Anyone that you appoint is known as an “attorney”.

The LPA allows you to choose what happens to you when you lack mental capacity. It’s not just for those who know that they will need it, but for any eventuality such as an accident or unforeseen illness.

To make an LPA you must be over 18 and have the ability to make your own decisions. There are two types of LPA:

  • health and welfare; and
  • property and financial affairs.

You can make one of them or both. This means you can choose what happens to you in respect of your care, or what should happen to any property and finances should you be unable to look after them yourself.

Health and Welfare LPA

This LPA gives an attorney power to make decisions about things such as:

  • your daily routine – care, washing, eating, dressing etc.
  • any medical care needed
  • moving into a care home
  • life-sustaining treatment – including acting on Do Not Resuscitate orders.

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

This LPA gives an attorney power to make decisions such as:

  • managing a bank or building society account
  • paying bills
  • collecting pension or benefits
  • selling property

Anyone can be your attorney as long as they are over 18. You can choose more than one person if you like. They can be a relative, friend, LPA Solicitor or your spouse or partner.

When choosing your attorney you may wish to think about how well they look after their own affairs as well as how well you know them. You need to think about whether they would have your best interests at heart and if you would really be happy for them to make decisions for you. You can’t appoint someone who is bankrupt to look after your finances.

If you decide to choose two or more people you will need to decide if they are to make decisions together or separately. So this means that they have to either agree on a decision together, or they can decide the action is appropriate by themselves.

It is important that you look at every aspect of your life and make your decisions carefully. The people you appoint will look after you at your most vulnerable and you want to make sure that they do. It is advisable to seek professional legal advice when choosing to register a lasting power of attorney.

If you would like to speak to an experienced Lasting Power of Attorney solicitor call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9056 or contact us online and we will call you.

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