Preparing for the future goes beyond simply making a will, stipulating who will get what on your death. With life expectancy and diagnoses of dementia increasing it has never been so important to consider appointing someone to act on your behalf if you become mentally incapable of making your own decisions. Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney while you still have all your marbles will ensure that those decisions are made by someone you know and trust.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives someone of your choosing the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf either when you become mentally incapable of doing so in the future or when you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
There are two types of LPA:
1. A Financial Decisions LPA – covering matters such as
- paying bills
- paying your mortgage
- buying and selling property
This kind of LPA can be used while you (the donor of the LPA) still have mental capacity.
2. A Health and Care LPA – covering matters such as
- personal care
- where you live
- medical treatment
- who you have contact with
This kind of LPA can only be used once you have lost mental capacity.
Choosing your attorney
Choosing your Lasting Power of Attorney is a very personal and individual decision and as such you can choose whomever you trust most out of your friends and/or relatives to make decisions affecting you with your best interests at heart. You can also appoint more than one person but will need to stipulate whether they must act jointly (together on all matters) or jointly and severally (can act together or separately, as they choose).
However, there are a number of legal criteria that your candidate(s) must meet.
• must be over 18 years of age
• can be an individual, individuals or a trust corporation (eg. part of a bank)
• should not be a paid care worker (unless there are exceptional circumstances.
In the case of a financial decisions LPA, the candidate must not be bankrupt, interim bankrupt or subject to debt relief at the tine the LPA is made.
Setting up an LPA
Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney can be a complex matter, involving the submission of various forms and statements. While it is not compulsory to use a solicitor to create and register an LPA, it may be advisable to do so in order to ensure that all essentials and eventualities are covered and completed. A solicitor is also a neutral party in helping you make what can be tough and sensitive decisions that will affect you in the future.
A solicitor can also act as the certificate provider, to verify that in their opinion, you understand what the LPA means and the effect of signing it.
To find out more about Edward Hayes LLP and how our solicitors can help you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney contact us now on 01243 781431 (during office hours) or 0800 085 9684 (out of hours) or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org