A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorises someone you trust to make decisions about such things as your healthcare or finances at a time when you require help with such matters or lack the mental capacity to make decisions yourself.
There are two very different forms of Lasting Power of Attorneys that can be made. One deals with your property and financial affairs and the other deals with your health and welfare issues. You can make one form of Lasting Power of Attorney without making the other, or you can choose to make both.
If you make a ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ power, your attorney can do anything in relation to your property and financial affairs that you could do yourself, e.g. buy and sell property, manage your investments, open and close bank accounts, claim benefits and pensions.
The ‘Health and Welfare’ form of Lasting Power of Attorney enables you to appoint an attorney to make decisions about social care issues and medical treatment including the giving or refusing of consent to life sustaining treatment. However with this type of Power of Attorney the appointed attorney can only act on your behalf once you have lost mental capacity and it does not give the attorney authority to demand a particular medical treatment and nor does it authorise euthanasia.
Both types of Lasting Power of Attorney require preparation and signing in accordance with strict rules set out by the Office of the Public Guardian, and registration with them before it can be used by your attorney. This organisation is a division of the Court of Protection.
A power of attorney is a powerful legal document and you will need to carefully consider who to appoint as your attorney(s) in it. Further, the document has to be carefully prepared and the correct steps taken in ensuring it is properly registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. We have dealt with many cases and have considerable experience in dealing with this work.
It is also important not to leave it too late to make a Lasting Power of Attorney as it can only be made while you still have ‘mental capacity’. Anyone over 60 should really be thinking of making one since if you have not made one and you lose capacity your family would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to manage your affairs. This process is takes significantly longer and is much more expensive than making a Lasting Power of Attorney. Hopefully you will not lose capacity and so the Lasting Power of Attorney need never be used but at least if one is made there will be little fuss involved for someone else to take over handling your affairs, if necessary.
We can provide you with an estimate of costs for the entire process of making either or both types of LPA before you make the decision to proceed. Please 'phone, or email or visit the office for an estimate.
Our office has wheelchair access and depending on location we can make home visits to clients who are unable to attend the office.