Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are powers granted by a person with capacity (the donor) to another or others known as ‘donees’, to make decisions on their behalf when they have lost the capacity to do so themselves. So, if you want to give someone else you trust the ability to look after your finances and property or to make decisions about your welfare, then you are the person making the LPA and telling those you trust and have given the job to (your attorneys) what to do and how you want them to deal with things.
LPA’s can extend beyond financial and property decisions to include welfare decisions, which cover healthcare and medical needs
Financial and property decisions could be:
- buying or selling property for you:
- opening, closing or operating any bank, building society or other accounts for you;
- giving access to your financial information;
- receiving any income, inheritance or other entitlement on behalf of you;
- claiming, receiving and using (on your behalf) all benefits, pensions, allowances and rebates (unless the Department for Work and Pensions has already appointed someone and everyone is happy for this to continue);
- dealing with your tax affairs
- paying the your mortgage, rent and household expenses
- insuring, maintaining and repairing your property
- investing your savings (with proper advice of course and not just putting it on the 3:30pm at Epsom Races..!!)
Welfare decisions could include healthcare and medical treatment decisions and might also include a wide range of social care and accommodation issues, such as
- where the you should live and who you should live with;
- day-to-day care, including diet and dress
- who you may have contact with – sorry double glazing salesman but you might be on the banned list……
- consenting to or refusing medical examination and treatment on your behalf (your attorneys can’t insist on you having a particular treatment. They can only consent or refuse)
- arrangements needed for you to be given medical, dental or optical treatment;
- assessments for and provision for community care services;
- whether you should take part in social activities, leisure activities, education or training;
- dealing with your personal correspondence and papers;
- rights of access to personal information about you;
- complaints about the your care and treatment
And to be clear, you remain in control of decisions about your welfare until it gets to the point where you cannot make those decisions for yourself, so you are not signing your life away. You can also make advance decisions that your attorney would have to respect – for example to be an organ donator. Decisions about finance and property (and dealing with all that paperwork!) can be done by your attorneys straightaway even where you are able to deal with it yourself but you would rather ‘outsource’ the work!
You can have one or more attorneys and you can tell them they all have to act by agreement, if you want. You can have one set of attorneys for the finance and property decisions and another set for the welfare decisions if you want too. You can’t ‘make’ someone be your attorney – they do have to accept so you will need to speak to them about your intentions. As an additional safeguard, your LPA has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used. The OPG can intervene if they need to but if you have thought carefully and chosen someone you trust, there will rarely be the need for the OPG to get involved.
If you need help in making an LPA to provide for future arrangements, contact us. We can help.