What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are important legal documents which enables individuals to act on another person’s behalf, should one become incapacitated. The documents themselves consist of two types and deal with an individual’s Property and Financial affairs and Health and Welfare.
The Property and Financial affairs LPA empowers trusted individuals to act on one’s behalf and in one’s best interests, in making decisions such as selling property, paying bills and generally overseeing one’s finances. In addition, the Health and Welfare document enables authorised persons to become involved with making decisions in relation to one’s health, such as care provisions, medication and life-sustaining treatment.
Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Having these documents in place enables one to choose people they they trust, such as family members, friends or professionals, to act as their Attorneys in dealing with their affairs, should one lose capacity or feel that they are unable to cope with their own matters.
It is not to say that everyone will lose capacity in their lifetime, but it could be a situation in which one could, unfortunately, find themselves. For example, individuals who suffer from severe mental health issues such as bipolar disorder or Alzheimer’s, those with learning difficulties and the elderly may need support in managing their own affairs.
In addition to this, it is also advisable for business owners to consider having in place LPA documents in case they become incapacitated and as such are unable to make decisions that affect the running of the business. By having these documents in place, a business can continue to be managed and overseen by one’s Attorneys, with minimal interruption, in the event that the business owner, be it a sole trader, director or partner of a business, is, for any reason, unable to manage the business.
No Lasting Powers of Attorney… What happens next?
Should one lose capacity without having LPAs in place, family members will face having to apply to the Court of Protection to have a Deputy appointed in order to deal with their loved one’s affairs finances and health-related decisions. Unfortunately, this can be a lengthy and expensive process that is likely to cause significant strain on those family members who are affected.
If you would like to find out more about LPAs or if you would like to make an appointment to prepare LPA documents, please contact Spire Solicitors on telephone number 01603 677077 as we will be more than happy to assist you.