Lasting powers of attorney are a powerful tool enabling you to take control of your future. We set out below: what they do, why you need them and how to go about setting them up.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) is a formal document in which you appoint one or more people – your “attorneys” – to make decisions for you in the future, should you lose the ability – the “capacity” – to make those decisions for yourself.
There are two kinds of LPA, each of which perform separate and distinct functions;

An LPA in respect of Property and Financial Affairs

This enables you to appoint attorneys to take care of your finances, from day-to-day administrative tasks such as running your bank account, ensuring you receive all your income, and paying your bills, to larger decisions such as the sale and purchase of your property and other capital assets.

An LPA in respect of Health and Welfare

Here you appoint attorneys to make the more personal decisions for you, such as what medical treatment you receive, where you live and what arrangements are made for your day to day care.
You can have either the Health and Welfare or the Property and Finance LPA in place, or you can have both. If you decide to have both, you don’t have to appoint the same attorneys in both – you can appoint different attorneys to make the different classes of decision.
Who you choose to appoint is entirely up to you. Many people choose a close and trusted friend, or a family member such as a grown-up child. Other people opt for a professional such as their accountant or their family solicitor.
You must have the capacity to make decisions for yourself at the time you enter into an LPA, but your attorneys’ powers don’t come into effect unless and until you lose capacity in the future. For an LPA to take effect, it must also be registered at the office of a government official known as The Public Guardian.
What an attorney can and cannot do for you is determined by a code of practice. In a nutshell, an attorney must always support you in making decisions for yourself if at all possible, must only decide on your behalf as a last resort, must make decisions in your best interests, and can take account of the views of those close to you in deciding what is in your best interests.
You can tailor the LPA to your own specific needs, by giving instructions as to what decisions your attorneys can and cannot make and how particular decisions should be arrived at.
In this modern age, we benefit from longer life expectancy, but the downside is that, as we live longer, the likelihood of experiencing declining physical and mental health in our later years increases.
If you care about what happens to your assets after you die, you will have at least thought about making a will. Protecting your assets, and your own health and welfare, during your lifetime matters just as much, if not more. LPA’s enable you to decide in advance what happens to you and your assets if you lose capacity.
The Public Guardian requires LPA’s to be created in a specific format, setting out your own personal details and those of your chosen attorney or attorneys.
An independent person, known as the Certificate Provider, must sign the document, confirming that you have the capacity to appoint the attorneys and that you have not appointed them under duress or fraud. The certificate provider must have known you well for at least two years or must have relevant legal or medical qualifications to be able to assess capacity and absence of fraud and duress.
You can also nominate a Person to be Told – this is a person who will receive formal notification from the Public Guardian when your LPA is registered. This is an extra safeguard against fraud or duress. If you choose to dispense with the Person to be Told, you need two certificate Providers. The document must be signed by both yourself and your attorneys, and the signatures must be witnessed.
The document must then be registered with the Public Guardian at a fee of £130.00.
There are downloadable forms available on the internet to enable you to create LPA’s yourself. If however you feel daunted by the prospect of not doing so correctly, feel free to contact ACSL Solicitors and we will provide you with a fixed fee price.
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