A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables you to appoint someone to manage your personal, property and financial affairs.
The person you appoint is known as an ‘attorney’ and you are known as the ‘donor’. Your attorney can make decisions on your behalf if you no longer want to, or if you are incapable of doing so. People often assume that if one partner in a marriage or civil partnership cannot make decisions for themselves, the other partner automatically gains the authority to do so. This isn’t the case; they need to obtain a Lasting Power of Attorney.
The scope of the decisions that can be made depends on the type of Lasting Power of Attorney and what powers it confers. There are two main types of Lasting Power of Attorney: a “health and welfare” Lasting Power of Attorney and a “property and financial affairs” Lasting Power of Attorney.
There is a prescribed form that has to be used and for it to be valid a Lasting Power of Attorney it must also be registered with the Public Guardianship Office. It currently takes ten weeks for the Lasting Power of Attorney to be registered.
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
This Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to make or help the donor in making decisions relating to money, mortgages, tax, bills, pensions, property, banks, and so on. All of the donor’s interests must be kept separate from your own. As well as using their money to manage their affairs, you are allowed to spend money on gifts for special occasions and make charitable donations to charities that the donor would not object to. For most other things, you need to apply to the Court of Protection for approval.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
As a Health and Welfare attorney you help the donor with matters relating to daily routine, where they live and whether it is safe for them, and any medical issues. Attorneys can also be given permission to consent to surgery and make decisions relating to life-saving treatment. If the donor has made a living will in relation to medical treatment, this overrides any decisions made by attorneys.
How we can help
Appointing an attorney enables you to choose someone you trust to make decisions for you in the future. This is something we can help with in providing initial advice, attending to the formalities involved and, when appropriate, arranging for the power to be registered. We have many experienced solicitors and executives who handle Lasting Powers of Attorney on a daily basis: contact your local office to discuss your requirements.