Powers of Attorney

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Putting a power of attorney in place is standard financial planning it is the second most important document after a Will.

We have an ageing population and it predicted the number of people in their 90’s will double over the next decade. The care of the elderly includes looking after both their financial and welfare needs. If a person is no longer able to deal with their own affairs their assets will be frozen until the Court of Protection appoints a Deputy (usually the next of kin). This can take many months and cost a great deal of money. Often there is a need to access accounts to pay for medical expenses or care fees until the Deputy has been appointed this is not possible, causing a great deal of stress and anxiety to the family.

How can Lasting Powers of Attorney help me?

To avoid the cost and distress of your next of kin having to make an application to appoint a Deputy it is important whilst you have capacity you put in place an LPA choosing the people you trust to take care of your finances and welfare. A Lasting Power of Attorney is an extremely valuable document which needs to be drawn up with great care.

LPA’s came into force on October 1st 2007 there are two types:

The Property and Affairs LPA which gives the attorney authority to make decisions about your financial affairs. It can be mundane things like making sure the person receives the right level of State benefits, checking that their bank account is in order, or looking after investments, etc.

The Personal Welfare LPA – which gives the attorney authority to make decisions about your healthcare and personal welfare. This could extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.

An important distinction between the two types is that a Property and Affairs LPA can be used by the attorney under the instruction of the Donor and also when the Donor has lost the capacity to make their own decisions. The Welfare LPA can only be used once the donor has lost capacity to make the relevant decisions themselves.

The Property and Affairs LPA is largely the same as the Enduring Powers of Attorney previously in force.

Further information

Any Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) made prior to the introduction of the LPA on October 1st are valid, though no more EPAs can be made. The LPA is more complicated than the EPA. This is mainly because they are more robust having added protection against the possibility of misuse. It goes further than the older EPA and thereby provides a safer more secure situation.

Both types of LPA must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used. We recommend clients register as there can be a considerable delay in the return of the documents by the OPG.

We all like to be in control for as long as possible – the thought of growing old and having things done to us that we may or may not agree with is not a pleasant thought. However you can maintain control by choosing your carers and those who will look after your property and affairs. That’s what an LPA is designed to do for you.