LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY

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An important part of lifetime planning is the Lasting Power of Attorney. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf as your attorney to look after your property and financial affairs and if necessary, your health and welfare. Having a Lasting Power of Attorney has become increasingly more common in England and Wales.

Just consider how much worse your situation would be if you had dementia or Alzheimer’s. These medical conditions could result in you having difficulties making any decisions and you will need help managing your finances.

A Lasting Power of Attorney must be made whilst you still have mental capacity. You will be able to appoint a relative or friend that you trust to look after your affairs if you lose capacity. By putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, you do not suddenly give up control of your own finances. You can choose when your attorneys can make decisions for you. This can be before or only when you lose mental capacity. You may have full mental capacity but be disabled in other ways leaving you housebound and unable to visit the bank. Your attorneys will only ever be able to make a choice for you if you are unable to make a decision at the time it needs to be made.

There is also a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. This type of LPA is harder to obtain and is used in circumstances where attorneys are required to make decisions about day to day healthcare and medical treatments as well as dealing with any health care workers and social care workers. A Health and Welfare LPA can only be used after a person loses capacity and not before.

Unless you create a Lasting Power of Attorney while you have mental capacity, your loved ones will have to apply through the Court to become a Deputy. This process takes longer and can be more expensive. You should act early before you lose capacity. Irrespective of your current health, you should still consider a Lasting Power of Attorney. None of us know what is around the corner. Severe medical conditions and accidents do not discriminate and anyone over 18 years can set up a Lasting Power of Attorney. Anyone can have an accident which may result in an individual having severe concussion, be in a coma, have a stroke or brain injury leaving one with severe mental problems and unable to make decisions.

Mental Capacity

Mental capacity is the ability of an individual to make decisions. Some people may be able to make decisions some of the time but not all of the time because of medical conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression or schizophrenia to name a few. This does not necessarily mean that an individual lacks capacity all of the time; only when they are extremely unwell.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 defines a person as being unable to make decisions if:-

  • they cannot understand information given to them to make a relevant decision;
  • retain information long enough to make decisions;
  • be able to use that information and communicate a decision.

During the process of making an LPA or Deputyship a certificate provider will be asked to complete a section of the application form stating whether or not they believe you are capable of making decisions. The certificate provider will usually be a doctor, solicitor or social worker.

What To Do Now

This will depend upon your situation.

If you still have mental capacity, this is the best time to act. Call or email Meaby & Co. Solicitors on 020 7703 5034 or mwaters@meaby.co.uk and our professional, friendly team of lawyers will assist you to create and apply for your Lasting Power of Attorney. Once we make the application on your behalf, it will take approximately 10-12 weeks to register. As soon as the Lasting Power of Attorney is registered it will be effective and your attorneys can, if required to do so start making decisions straight away or when you specify.

If the person has already lost capacity, Meaby & Co. Solicitors can assist you to apply for a Deputyship so that you can become a deputy of the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is an extremely powerful legal document and we at Meaby & Co. Solicitors advise individuals to instruct one of our Solicitors to help you through the process. It is vital that you fully understand what the forms mean.

There is a misconception that a spouse or adult child will be able to manage your affairs should you become mentally incapacitated. As mentioned above, a Lasting Power of Attorney can only be registered while you have mental capacity, once you have lost capacity it is too late.

Act now, pick up the phone or email Meaby & Co. Solicitor on 020 7703 5034 or email: mwaters@meaby.co.uk to prevent a lengthy and complicated process for your loved ones at what will already be a difficult time.