What is a Lasting Powers of Attorney?
People who lack mental capacity need someone else to manage their legal, financial and health affairs. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 made provision for people to choose someone to manage not only their finances and property should they become incapable but also to make health and welfare decisions on their behalf. They will be able to do this through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
Property and affairs LPA
You can make a property and affairs LPA to enable someone you trust (the attorney) to make decisions on your behalf about your property and affairs at a time when you are no longer able or lack the mental capacity to take those decisions yourself. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits or selling your house, subject to any restrictions or conditions you might have included. It can only be used once it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
Personal welfare LPA
A personal welfare LPA allows the person/s you have chosen as your attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare, eg where you live. It can include the power for the attorney to give or refuse consent to medical treatment if this power has been expressly given in the LPA. You have to fill in the form appropriately if this is the option that you require. If you do state that you do not wish to consent to specified life sustaining treatment to be given at a future time, the LPA giving the attorney the decision making power will invalidate a previous advanced decision refusing treatment, thus giving the attorney power to make the decision. A subsequent advanced decision (if applicable in the circumstances) would be binding on the attorney.
A personal welfare LPA can only be used once the form is registered at the OPG and you have become mentally incapable of making decisions about your own welfare.
What could happen if I don't make a LPA?
Think for one moment what would happen If before you die you were unable to manage your financial matters? If you had not already put in place a LPA the out come is it would require you to fill in an application to the court of protection to have someone suitable appointed as deputy to deal with your affairs. This is a costly and time consuming process (this process can take as long as 10 months) and you are losing your choice of appointing a person or persons you would want to handle your affairs.
Can I restrict how the LPA is used?
When instructing a LPA to be drawn up for you, you can stipulate restrictions of Power that you will grant your attorneys . For example you can say that you only want them to deal with some matters and not others this ensures that your wishes are followed should you lack the capacity to enforce them for your self.
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