WHAT ARE (LASTING) POWERS OF ATTORNEY (LPA)?
A lasting power of attorney is an important document to let other people make decisions on your behalf if you don’t have mental/health capacity to make a decision or can’t express your wishes.
Your attorney needs to be trustworthy and have the appropriate skills to make decisions regarding your health, property and finances. It is possible to appoint more than one attorney if necessary.
WHEN CAN AN ATTORNEY ACT?
Your attorney will only be able to act when they have signed the LPA, you have signed it and it has been certified by an outside individual that you understand the nature and scope of the LPA and have not been unduly pressured into making the power. A certificate confirming there has been no fraud will also need to be obtained.
Once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, a property and financial affairs LPA can be used when you have the capacity to act, as well as if you lack the capacity to make a financial decision. The health and welfare power can only be used if you lack the capacity to make a welfare or medical decision.
WHAT IF I HAVE AN EXISTING ENDURING POWER OF
Any valid, enduring power made before 1st October 2007 can still be used, but only in respect of your property and financial affairs. If you wish to give authority over your health and welfare you will need to make a health and welfare LPA.
WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE AN LPA OR AN EPA?
If you do not consult a lasting power of attorney solicitor to arrange for an LPA, or have an existing EPA, and you lack the capacity to make a financial or welfare decision it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection. This is both a costly and time consuming process.
Most care and treatment decisions can be made on your behalf without the need for a court application. However, if you wish to avoid any potential disputes you can give a particular person the authority to make those decisions on your behalf by making a health and welfare LPA.