This is a legal document allowing you to appoint people to manage your financial and/or welfare affair should you become unable to do this yourself.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health & Welfare LPA.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA is a document which allows the selected person to have authority to deal with all your financial affairs on your behalf. This LPA offers peace of mind that people you trust will be legally allowed to manage your financial affairs on your behalf if and when the need arises. This can be useful if you are abroad, physically or mentally incapacitated or simply want someone to help you manage your affairs. Some actions they can take are as following:
- Paying bills
- Claiming benefits, pensions and allowances
- Operating bank or building society accounts
- Buying or selling property
A Health and Welfare LPA is a document that gives authorisation to an assigned person of your choice to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare; including whether to give or refuse consent to medical treatment.
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, your loved ones will find it very difficult to manage your financial affairs for you; as they will not have legal authority to do so. The ONLY way to gain legal authority would be by applying to the Court of Protection for Deputyship. The person applying would need to disclose to the court personal information; about themselves, their family, their own finances and their relationship with the person they wish to care for. This process costs a considerable amount of money and can take anything between 12 weeks and 10 months. A Judge will make the final decision as to who is appointed as the Deputy and this may not be who you would have wished to manage your affairs. The appointment does not even have to be a family member, preferring to appoint a Panel Deputy, either retired Solicitors or Barristers who work for the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) or a local authority.
It is currently estimated that 55,000 people are registered with the Court of Protection who are deemed mentally incapable to act on their own behalf. Their affairs are placed under the jurisdiction of the Court.
This would mean that those seeking to care for you, such as your family would have the added stress of having to deal with officials, every time a decision needed to be made. They would also have no official say in any medical treatment for you even when they knew what your wishes would have been.
It is therefore obvious why arranging your LPA’s, while you have the capacity to do so, is strongly advised.