It’s always a good idea to plan ahead. The older we get, the greater the battle between our minds and our bodies.
You can prepare for a time when you may not be able to make your own decisions. You can appoint one or more persons (Attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf by way of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
There are two kinds of LPA:
Property and affairs LPA, which deals with:
- Making investments on your behalf
- Paying your bills
- Selling your home
- Buying you a new home
- Making gifts that you might otherwise have wished to make to your family (subject to various safeguards).
Personal welfare LPA, which deals with:
- Deciding where your home should be
- Deciding what type of accommodation is suitable
- Consenting to medical treatment, procedures or therapy on your behalf
- Making decisions about your dress, diet and personal appearance
- Taking you on holiday or authorising someone to do so
- Helping to make decisions about the level of care you require.
Our lawyers have wide-ranging expertise in dealing with LPAs and the special needs of the elderly. We are able to guide you through the whole process of preparing the LPA, explaining their roles to the Attorneys, dealing with nursing homes, registering the LPA and responding to any objections.
Who can make an LPA?
You must be aged at least 18 and of sound mind. You cannot make an LPA if you no longer have mental capacity.
Can I appoint my spouse or civil partner?
You can appoint your spouse or civil partner as your Attorney. It is generally a good idea to appoint more than one Attorney (but no more than four).
What happens if an Attorney dies?
If you still have mental capacity, you can make another LPA. You may have nominated a replacement Attorney when you signed the LPA and, if so, the replacement Attorney will act on your behalf.
Do all the Attorneys have to agree?
If you appoint the Attorneys on the basis that they have to‘act together’, then the answer is yes. If they are appointed on a ‘together and independent basis’, each Attorney can make his/her own decisions on your behalf.
If Attorneys have to act ‘together’, what happens if one dies?
The LPA dies as well, so it is usually better to appoint your Attorneys on a ‘together and independent’ basis. If one Attorney were to die, the other Attorney(s) could continue to look after your best interests.
Are there any safeguards?
The main safeguard is that any LPA you make cannot be used until it is registered at the Office of Public Guardian. At the time the LPA is made, you will need to have at least one independent person (eg. a suitable professional, such as one of our solicitors) who will confirm that you have entered into the LPA freely and in full understanding of its effect. You can appoint people in the LPA who will need to be notified on registration, and who can object on your behalf where
Do I need to be elderly to make an LPA?
Incapacity is not always associated with age. You may be perfectly healthy but an accident may render you mentally or physically unable to look after your own affairs. As a safeguard, you may consider an LPA, which can, of course, be altered as time passes to take account of your changing circumstances.
Click here to download a printer-friendly PDF version of this information.