Lasting Power of Attorney – What is it and when can it be used?

A Lasting Power of Attorney gives another person or persons the legal authority to look after your financial affairs or health and welfare. It allows your attorney to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity, for example due to an accident or illness.

Appointing an attorney to make decisions gives you more control over what happens to you if you no longer have mental capacity, it is your attorney’s duty to make all decisions in your best interests.

Once a Lasting Power of Attorney has been made it needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

There are two types;

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

This document gives an attorney power to make decision about things like your medical care, your daily routine, medical treatment, end of life decisions.

The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.

Financial Lasting Power of Attorney

This document gives an attorney power to make decisions about things such as paying bills, managing your bank accounts, selling your home, collecting a pension or benefits, or making investments.

The Finance Lasting Power of Attorney can be used as soon as it is registered, with your permission.

You can choose to make one type or both.

Why is a Lasting Power of Attorney important?

A Power of Attorney is important because if you do not have one in place and later become mentally incapacitated, relatives could face delays and expense in applying to the Court of Protection to get access to and take control of your assets and finances by way of a “Deputyship Order”. This delay and expense can be avoided if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. A Power of Attorney is recognised by many places, including banks, care homes and local authorities, as well as benefits and pension authorities.

What is mental capacity?

Mental capacity is your ability to make decisions for yourself. It is not necessarily something that you have or don’t have. You may be able to reason and to make decisions about some things, for example how to run your day to day money, but not about other things, such as investment decisions for larger sums of money. Your mental capacity may change from time to time, you may have good days and bad days. However, your attorneys must always assist you to make your own decisions if you are still able to do so.

It is important that you seek legal advice when obtaining a Lasting Power of Attorney. These are powerful documents and must be considered carefully.

If you would like to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, or if we can answer any of your questions, please contact Hepburn Delaney today on 01442 219080, we are here to help.  Alternatively, you can visit our website for more details about the service we offer around a Lasting Power of Attorney.