An Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney is a document that gives legal authority to someone to deal with your affairs on your behalf. This could be on a temporary basis or permanently, for example if you were to lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
You can no longer make a new Enduring Power of Attorney as they have been replaced with Lasting Powers of Attorney, however if you already have an Enduring Power of Attorney, it remains valid and useable.
It is advisable to put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place so that you have the reassurance of knowing that a trusted attorney can step in on your behalf at any time if needed. If you were to lose the ability to manage your own affairs and you did not have an LPA, then your loved ones would not be able to help you out.
By way of example, they would not be able to access your bank account to pay bills and they would not be able to arrange care for you. If someone becomes unable to make their own decisions and they do not have an LPA, then their family would need to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order.
This can take many weeks to deal with and can cause difficulties in the meantime. It is also a more complicated process and costs more than obtaining an LPA.
At Lockings Solicitors, we can draw up an LPA for you to sign so that you have this available, should it ever be needed. We can advise you on associated matters, such as choosing the right attorney, whether you would like us to register the LPA and what authority to give to your attorney.
We have many years of experience in dealing with Lasting Powers of Attorney, to include in complex situations and situations where capacity may become an issue.
Our Head of Private Client, Joanne Liversidge, is a longstanding member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a specialist group of lawyers who work to support and make a difference to older and vulnerable people. She is also a Dementia Friend, meaning she has good insight into the difficulties involved in dealing with life with dementia as well as the legal issues involved.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
You have the option to make one or both types. You can choose the same attorneys for each or have different attorneys if you wish.
A property and financial affairs LPA will give your attorney authority to make decisions in respect of your money and property. This includes:
You can specify what authority you want your attorney to have. With a property and financial affairs LPA, you can allow your attorney to use this while you still have mental capacity if you wish. This can be useful if you are unable to visit your bank for example, or if you plan on going away for a while but you need someone to deal with financial matters in your absence.
A health and welfare LPA covers your personal wellbeing. It can only be used if you lose the ability to make your own decisions. Your attorney will be able to step in to decide how you will be cared for, including in respect of:
The first step is to think about who you would like to act as your attorney. As well as choosing someone you trust, you should consider whether they will be able to take on the role as it can be quite time-consuming and require some financial skills.
You may also want to consider appointing someone who is younger than you so that they are more likely to be in a position to help, if the time comes when they are needed.
You can appoint more than one attorney if you wish. You will need to decide whether you want them to make decisions together and require them both sign documents or whether you are happy for each of them to be able to act individually. The latter can be easier and more practical for attorneys.
An alternative is appointing one attorney and naming a second person as a back-up in case your original choice is unable or unwilling to act.
Your attorney has a duty to act in your best interests at all times when dealing with your affairs.
The LPA will need to be registered before it can be used. This can be done at the time it is signed or later on when it is needed. It is usually recommended that registration is dealt with when the LPA is made as it can take the Office of the Public Guardian many weeks to complete a registration (over 20 weeks it is not unheard of). This will also give you the opportunity to deal with any queries that might be raised.
Before an application to register an LPA is made, a form needs to be sent to certain individuals notifying them of the proposed registration. When you make your LPA, you can list the people who should be notified. They will have three weeks to raise any concerns they may have about the registration, although you can carry on with the registration in the meantime.
Where possible, you should discuss with your attorney at the time the LPA is made what sort of decisions you would like them to make for you, should it ever be necessary. You can also put some instructions in the LPA if you wish.
Your attorney will need to keep a detailed record of how they deal with your finances and use a separate bank account to their own to manage your money. They should also retain receipts and bills.
If you would like to sign a Lasting Power of Attorney or you have any questions about it, we will be happy to hear from you. We represent clients and attorneys in putting LPAs in place, registering them with the Court of Protection and dealing with the ongoing administration.
You can ring us for a FREE initial chat on 01482 300 200, email us at email@example.com or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and deal with Lasting Powers of Attorney in East Yorkshire and beyond.
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