Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

27th February 2017

We often think a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is for the older individual who may be suffering from early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.  Whist this is correct, LPA’s actualWhilstply to any individual over the age of 18.  You may ask but why?  LPA’s are not only relevant to managing older people’s affairs but can be important for younger people too.  The reality is that any one of us can suffer from an accident or bout of sudden illness of some sort which could severely affect the mind and mental capacity either in the short term or long term.  If this happens, the way to ensure the least amount of disruption is caused for loved ones is to have LPA’s in place.  The point to note is that an LPA can only be made whilst you have mental capacity.  After the event is too late and this is something which everyone should bear in mind.

An LPA is a legal mechanism by which the donor (that is, the person making the power of attorney) can appoint one or more persons to act on their behalf (called attorneys) should they lose the mental capacity to make decisions.  An ordinary power of attorney is not sufficient because it becomes invalid if the donor becomes mentally incapable.  If an individual who has not made an LPA becomes mentally incapable, time-consuming and costly applications to the Court of Protection may have to be made.  Therefore it is always advisable to have LPA’s drafted and registered as early as you can.

There are two types of LPA:

  • An LPA that grants authority in relation to the donor’s property and financial affairs.
  • An LPA that grants authority in relation to the donor’s health and welfare.

Both types of LPA’s must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before use.  An attorney appointed for a health and welfare LPA can only act when the donor loses capacity.  A property and financial affairs attorney can act before or after the donor lacks capacity (unless the donor specifies that the attorney cannot act until he has lost capacity). For example, a donor who has capacity but finds it difficult to get about or talk on the telephone or is out of the country for a long period of time may want an attorney to manage some or all of their affairs during this period.

The advice you obtain when going through the process of drafting an LPA is very important as the power which is given to the attorneys can be huge.  Therefore you must be fully aware of the consequences of appointing your attorneys, how you would like the attorneys appointed to work i.e. to act together or separately, how many attorneys you wish to appoint and also think about if you require any replacement attorneys.

Please contact Hardeep Nijher who can provide you with the expert advice you will need in this area.