What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (or LPA ) allows the “Donor” to nominate someone they trust, “the Attorney, to take care of their affairs once they are no longer in a position to do so themselves. When that stage is reached the Attorney must apply to register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian before any powers can be exercised.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney available:
A Personal Welfare LPA
A Property and Affairs LPA
The first gives the Attorney the right to make decisions concerning the Donor’s health and welfare, such as medical treatment or day to day care, once they are no longer able to make these decisions for themselves.
The second will allow the Attorney to look after the Donor’s financial affairs and property. For example the Attorney will be able to pay bills or receive benefits on the Donor’s behalf.
Who can prepare an LPA?
It is very important that specialist legal advice is taken. A solicitor is probably best placed to discuss the “pros” and “cons” of setting up an LPA with you. You can also contact the Office of the Public Guardian for guidance.
The solicitor will ensure all formalities are carried out and will talk you through the paperwork. They can act as the “Certificate Provider” and complete the section of the LPA form confirming the Donor understands what they are doing and are not being influenced by a third party. The solicitor will ask for names of family or friends who the Donor wants to be notified as soon as an application is made to register the LPA – these people are referred to as “Named Persons”. Finally, the form must be signed, dated and witnessed by an independent person.
Can an LPA be revoked?
Yes, so long as the Donor still has mental capacity then they have the right to cancel the LPA. Other instances in which the LPA can be revoked are :
If either the Donor or the Attorney becomes bankrupt then this will revoke a Property and Affairs LPA (though not a Personal Welfare LPA).
If the Attorney dies and there is no replacement attorney.
If the attorney refuses to act.
If the Donor’s spouse is the Attorney and the marriage is ended by divorce.
If the attorney does not have the mental capacity to take up the appointment.
What are the Benefits of an LPA?
A Lasting Power of Attorney enables the Donor to nominate someone they can trust and rely on, who will be best placed to look after them and their affairs should a time come when they are not capable of managing themselves. By making an LPA so many of the problems that can arise when someone does not plan ahead can be avoided.
To find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney visit http://www.courtofprotectionlawyers.co.uk/lasting-powers-of-attorney/