What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A LPA is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people as your attorney to help you manage your affairs for you if you are unable to for any reason. You can also appoint replacement attorneys who will step in if something happens to your chosen attorneys.
There are 2 types;
Health and Welfare which allows your attorneys to make decisions on your behalf regarding such things as moving into a care home, medical care and also provides you with the opportunity to detail your instructions as to whether or not you wish to consent to life sustaining treatment. This LPA only comes into force once you lose mental capacity.
Property and Financial allows your attorney/s to manage your bank or building society account, pay bills or sell property for example. Unlike the Health LPA this one can come into effect as soon as it is registered if you choose for it do so.
How safe is a LPA against financial abuse?
Part of the process of entering into a LPA is that a certificate provider signs the form to confirm that you understand the power you are giving and that you have not been put under any pressure to do so.
Whilst no longer mandatory, you can also notify people under the LPA of what you are intending to do which allows them time to raise any objections that they have.
The LPA allows you to state any preferences or instructions that you have which your attorney must abide by. For example you can provide instructions as to when you would permit your home to be sold or that you wish to have quarterly reports regarding your finances.
What happens if I lose capacity and do not have a LPA?
If you do not enter into a LPA and you lose your mental capacity, your loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become your Deputy to make decisions for you which is a much more time consuming process and will cause delays in your affairs being able to be dealt with.
At the end of the day, LPAs allow to have the peace of mind that your affairs will be dealt with as per your wishes by people that you trust.