Lasting Power of Attorney

Who would you want to look after your affairs and make decisions on your behalf if you couldn’t do this yourself?

There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf. It could just be temporary, for example, if you are in hospital and need help with everyday things such as making sure bills are paid on time. Or it could be more long-term if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia.

  • Every 90 seconds, someone is admitted to hospital in the UK with an acquired brain injury (Office of Public Guardian, 2015)
  • 1 in 3 people over 65 will develop dementia (Alzheimer’s Society, 2015)
  • In 2014 there were 194,477 reported casualties of all severities on British roads (Department for Transport, Annual Report 2014)
  • Many more will suffer from life altering conditions such as a stroke, heart attack or cancer.
  • Whilst 40% of the population have a Will, less than 1% of the population have an LPA (OPG)

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that is as important as having a Will for ensuring that your wishes are followed. It gives someone you trust the legal authority to make financial, health and welfare decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so yourself through physical or mental incapacity. Unlike a Will, an LPA is for use whilst you are alive, but lack the capacity to make decisions for yourself due to accident or illness.

If you lost capacity without an LPA in place, your loved ones will have to make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order before they can act on your behalf. This process can be very costly and take several months, furthermore your deputies will need to submit annual accounts to the courts and re-apply every three years. By putting an LPA in place, the whole process is quicker, easier and cheaper, plus the application only has to be made once.

Mental and physical incapacity can hit at any time, which is why it is important to plan ahead to ease the potential burden on loved ones.

There are two different types of LPA

  • Health and Welfare

This covers any decisions on what you eat, any medical treatment you should or should not receive, or where you live should you need to move into care.

  • Property and Financial Affairs

This covers all financial decisions such as paying your mortgage and bills, receiving state benefits on your behalf, dealing with your bank and building society accounts and even selling your home.