Lasting Powers of Attorney

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows someone else to make or to help you make a decisions on your behalf, which is in your best interests, if you lack the capacity to do so yourself. In many ways having an LPA is as essential as making a will and many clients choose to do both at the same time for that extra reassurance that if during your lifetime you lost the capacity to make your own decisions, someone can immediately take over for you.

When setting up an LPA, you will need at least one attorney, but you can have more if you wish. If you do have more than one attorney, you must decide whether you want them to act together, separately, or together for some matters and separately for others. You can also, if you wish, appoint a replacement if your original choice of attorney is no longer able to act on your behalf. For instance, if, when the LPA was first registered, you appointed a sibling as attorney, you might later wish to appoint your grown-up children to act on your behalf in the event of the death of your brother or sister.

Creating an LPA involves the completion of forms that must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, where the application will be checked. Current waiting times are around 13 weeks and there is a six-week period during which anyone may object to the LPA. In most cases, this is straightforward, but if there are any complications it is advisable to apply through a solicitor.

LPAs may be set up to allow your appointed attorney(s) to take decisions on your behalf in matters of property and financial affairs or in matters relating to your health and personal welfare. For instance, you might want someone to manage your bank account on your behalf, or to appoint someone who understands your wishes in this regard to take decisions about your health treatment.

Various safeguards are built into the system to prevent anyone being forced into an LPA against their wishes. An independent person must act as a certificate provider. This person must either have known the person making the LPA for at least two years or be a professional, such as a solicitor, doctor or social worker, and they must sign the application forms to verify that the person making the LPA has not been pressured into taking out the application.

An LPA may only be used if and when the person who made it is no longer able to act or lacks the capacity to make decisions for him/herself and must be registered with the court before it can be used.

We strongly recommend that you protect yourself and your family from an unexpected incapacity or deteriorating mental health by having a lasting power of attorney already in place. Contact us to find out more and why you should consider making one today

This may happen suddenly if you have a stroke or progressively if you develop dementia. A Lasting Power of Attorney enables you, the donor, to appoint someone to meet your needs at a time when you may no longer be able to do so yourself and lack capacity to make decisions about your finances or your health and care. Without an LPA in place should you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself your finances are frozen until a deputy can be appointed by the Court of Protection. This can take time and delay making important decisions and involve considerable expense in legal fees.