Whilst not everyone has a will, most people are aware of the existence of them and the importance of them. However, not many people are aware of the existence of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). Where a will provides for what will happen following your death, an LPA makes provisions for during your lifetime if you lose capacity and are incapable of managing your affairs. A common misconception people have is that an LPA is something to do when you are older or have started suffering from dementia, however this can cause problems because you need to have capacity to make a power of attorney.
If you lose capacity without an LPA in place, be it by illness, old age or accident, your next of kin will need to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to manage your affairs. This method is very costly and time consuming. However if you create and register your LPA, they can be used immediately which may prevent any delays if anything does happen at a later date.
General powers of attorney will be automatically revoked if you lose capacity and therefore LPAs can be the best way forward to make provision for the future. LPAs can be limited to only apply to certain things or only be used once you have lost capacity. You can appoint up to 4 attorneys and include substitute ones to future proof it.
Different Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney
There are two different types of LPAs:
- Property and Financial Affairs
This gives power to your attorney(s) to deal with your property, assets, bank accounts, tax affairs and benefits etc. Subject to any limitations on the LPA, they can be used straightaway even if you haven’t lost capacity. This can be useful if you are planning on being out of the country for an extended period of time and are happy for your attorney(s) to deal with any issues in your absence.
- Health and Welfare
This deals with decisions in relation to your accommodation, care and other day to day things like your diet and attire. You can also choose whether or not your attorney will have the final say on medical treatment or whether this would be the doctor’s decision. Unlike property and financial LPAs, the health and welfare LPAs can only be used once you have lost capacity.