Lasting Power of Attorney
Lasting Power Of Attorney
are powerful legal documents allowing you to appoint someone you trust to look after your affairs should you no longer be able to through mental or physical incapacity. Allot of people assume a will is enough, however it’s not.
People make a will in the event of death however with more and more people living longer and requiring care, putting last powers of attorney in place avoid the local authority making those decisions for you.
There are two Lasting Powers Of Attorney:
Property & Financial Affairs – This allows the attorney to pay bills, deal with banks and investments, arrange and collect benefits or even sell property on behalf of the donor.
Health & Welfare – This allows the attorney to make decisions for the Donor such as care issues, where the Donor lives and give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment.
With no Lasting Power Of Attorney in place, bank accounts and investments are frozen, bills may not be paid and partners will not be able to sell property. Your wishes will be irrelevant as a doctor or local authority will make decisions on your behalf.
The only way your financial affairs can be managed would be an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order which can be both expensive and time consuming.
Due to data protection, it would make life extremely difficult for a spouse or other family member to help in these circumstances because all banks, and service providers would refuse to deal with anyone other than the account holders themselves. In some cases, even joint accounts could be frozen.
Should you find yourself in this position – unable to deal with your own affairs not even your spouse would be allowed access to any funds. Unless you have Lasting Power of Attorney, the only way your affairs could be dealt with is for the Office of Public Guardian to appoint a Court Deputy to deal with your affairs which can take months and often is very expensive.
In order to avoid all unnecessary red tape and expense all you need to do is make your own appointment of and Attorney before you need them, though a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) document. This way you choose a trusted person to act on your behalf.
And LPA is a separate document from your will but is equally important. By signing an LPA you are choosing someone you trust to look after your affairs and if you are unable to get about or make decisions for yourself, that becomes your attorney. This can be your spouse, your adult children or anyone you wish. You can appoint more than one person to act and they can either act alone or jointly.
Your attorney must act in your best interests at all times and is responsible for making decisions about either your financial affairs or they can make decisions concerning where you live, medical decisions concerning where you live, medical decisions but not changes to your will.
Your attorney can act at your direction if you are physically incapable and can still make decisions yourself, so you remain in control. It is only if you become mentally incapable would your attorney be acting independently.
What is a lasting Power of Attorney?
This is a powerful legal document enabling you to appoint a trusted individual of your choice (an Attorney) to handle your affairs on your behalf if you can’t look after yourself through mental or physical incapacity. Your LPA should reflect your wishes and needs.
What are the two different parts?
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to give your attorney the power to make decisions about any or all of your affairs. A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to give your attorney the power to make decisions about your health and welfare should you no longer be able to do so. You can decide to give your attorney the power to make decisions about any or all of your health and welfare matter, for example care issues, where you live and even to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment.
Why do I need one?
It ensures that someone you trust has the legal authority to sort out your everyday affairs. With no LPA in place, your wishes will be irrelevant as a Doctor or Local Authority will make decisions on your behalf. Bank accounts and investments could be frozen, along with standing orders or direct debits to pay bills in your name. Even having a joint bank account would not stop this from happening.
My children or a friend normally use my debit card to access money and pay bills?
This is illegal because of data protection. If you become mentally impaired, they could be charged with fraud.