Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal form which allows a person (called the donor) to choose someone else to manage their affairs for them. The person chosen is known as an attorney. Under an LPA the person who is chosen to be an attorney can be a friend, relative or a professional person. The donor will be able to decide who that person will be and how much power they should have over their affairs. It’s worth bearing in mind that more than one person can be chosen to act as an attorney.
Although lasting power of attorney registration is relatively simple, the donor must have full capacity and understanding when executing the LPA. They must understand what they’re signing and what it means. An LPA can only be used once is has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
An LPA that grants authority in relation to a person’s property and affairs
There are a number of reasons why someone would want to set up an LPA. A donor may want to assign someone they trust to make decisions about their money – to pay bills, for example. Alternatively, they may want someone to make a decision about their property once they’re no longer able. Here at Burt Brill and Cardens we’re able to help with your lasting power of attorney registration and advice accordingly.
With this type of LPA, the donor can specify that the attorney should only start managing their financial affairs after the donor lacks capacity, sometime in the future. If they do not specify this, the attorney can start using the LPA after it is registered, but while the donor still has capacity. All attorneys are under a duty to act in the donor’s best interests.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
An LPA that grants authority in relation to the donor’s personal welfare
This type of LPA allows the donor to choose a person to make decisions about the donor’s personal healthcare and welfare and medical treatment, when they are unable to do so themselves. The donor can even choose to give the attorney the power to give or refuse consent to treatment on the donor’s behalf, but the attorney cannot make decisions about life-sustaining treatment unless the donor specifically permits this in the LPA.
Where the donor lives, how they spend their time and even their diet can be stipulated in an LPA, and an attorney may be given the power to make these decisions if the donor is unable. These decisions can only be taken on behalf of the donor when he or she loses capacity, or the attorney reasonably believes that the donor has lost capacity, and after the LPA has been registered.
Whenever an attorney makes a decision under any of the two types of LPA, by law they must act in the best interests of the donor who has given them the power. Under the Personal Welfare type of lasting power of attorney, the attorney must consider whether the donor has capacity to make the decision themselves. Only after having considered this, can the attorney make a decision on behalf of the donor.
The donor may appoint the same attorneys under both types of LPA, or different attorneys under each type of LPA. If different attorneys are appointed under each type of LPA, they may need to act together on some decisions. For example, the decision about where the donor lives should be taken by the attorneys under the personal welfare LPA. This may involve selling the donor’s property, which is a decision for the attorneys under the property and affairs LPA.
It is the decision of the donor how much power is given to the attorney. They might decide that they want an attorney to make welfare decisions about their care but not make medical decisions on their behalf.
How Can I Make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
We can offer a full LPA service, offering Power of Attorney advice and guidance depending on your personal situation. Our Power of Attorney solicitors can prepare the necessary forms for you and arrange a certification process. It must be remembered that you need to be able to understand what an LPA will do for you and how it’ll help you.
The LPA can be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian once all the forms are complete, the certificate obtained and the attorneys have signed the document. Our Power of Attorney solicitors can deal with the registration formalities for you and aim to take as much of the stress out of the process as possible.
Once registered, a property and affairs LPA can be used straightaway, while the donor is still able to manage their own affairs, if that is required. However, a personal welfare LPA cannot be used until the donor has lost capacity. As the registration process will take between 5 and 6 weeks, and an attorney would not be able to act until after registration, clearly it is important for this type of LPA to be registered straight away. At Burt Brill & Cardens we’re able to advise and guide you through this often complex process.
On the application form you will be able to choose up to 5 people who you would like to be notified when an application to register the LPA is made. These will be people, who can be family members, other than the attorney, that you trust and know well, and who will be interested in your well-being. LPAs are an good way of ensuring your financial affairs are looked after at a time you are no longer able to deal or you no longer wish to deal with them yourself.
The personal welfare LPA ensures that you wishes are taken into account in your future care.
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