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Lasting Power of Attorney

While life expectancy has increased over the past generation, so too has the number of people who are unable to manage their own affairs, whether through an accident or illness affecting their faculties.

This has lead to an increasing call for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).

You should not wait until you are incapacitated before preparing an LPA, indeed waiting until then makes the matter more complicated, as it is necessary to have mental capacity to appoint attorneys. It is more prudent to prepare the forms early and then register the LPA if and when necessary.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An LPA is a legal document that allows you to nominate an individual, or individuals you trust, to take care of your affairs in the event that you no longer want to, or are unable to due to mental incapacity. LPAs come in two versions –

  • for property and financial affairs
  • for health and welfare.

The former is self-explanatory and allows somebody to manage your financial affairs, from accessing your bank account to selling your home or investments.

The latter is to do with general health and wellbeing, such as where someone may live (say for tong-term care), diet, dignity and, to some extent, medical matters.

Having LPAs prepared is very strongly recommended.

If you lose capacity without an LPA in place, the Court of Protection will appoint a deputy to make decisions for you.

Although the deputy is likely to be a relative, the process is slow, bureaucratic and expensive.

To be valid, LPAs must be registered with The Office of the Public Guardian, which is part of the Ministry of Justice.

What is a living will?

Writing a will allows you to express your wishes for the kind of medical treatment you would like to receive, or if you do not wish to receive treatment in the event that you become mentally incapacitated.

The term ‘living will” is a colloquialism, but is generally used to refer to either an “‘advance decision” or an “advance statement”, which are both formal legal terms. This will form part of your LPA.

An advance decision is a decision to refuse treatment, including life-sustaining  treatment, in a particular set of circumstances and is legally binding.

An advance statement is a general statement of your views and wishes.

It is not legally binding like an advanced decision, but the wishes you express should be taken into account. Advance statements allow you to set out your preferences and indicate what care or treatment you would like to receive should you be unable to decide or communicate these for yourself.

With a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can place your future affairs in the hands of someone you trust like to receive should you be unable to decide or communicate these for yourself.

An advance statement can cover non-medical things, such as your preferences for food — and it can also reflect your religious or other beliefs and values.

The benefit of both LPAs and living wills is that you can plan the decisions you would like to be made on your behalf.

The Probate Practice, as a certificate provider. can help you arrange these’, documents, so you can make clear your wishes about the kind of medical treatment you wish to receive in the event of mental incapacity, thus lifting an emotional burden from your relatives.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss your requirements for a Lasting Power of Attorney.