A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is the only way that someone can choose who they trust to manage their affairs if they lose mental capacity.
An LPA is a safety net for you and your loved ones, and the varied nature of accidents leading to diminished capacity means it is incredibly important to have one in place – no matter what your age.
You need two types of LPA to be fully covered
One LPA covers property and finance; the other, health and welfare. Your Property and Finance LPA allows the attorneys to access all bank accounts immediately, to continue to manage bills and mortgage payments. A separate Health and Welfare LPA enables your chosen Attorneys to make health choices for when you are unable to do so, from resuscitation to the type of care required.
An LPA is not useable unless it is registered
Once an LPA has been drafted, it needs to be registered with the OPG (Office of the Public Guardian). Until it’s registered, your LPA cannot be used and this can take between eight and 10 weeks.
Even your spouse/partner does not have the right to make health decisions on your behalf
You may not realise but but your spouse or partner, does not have any legal right to make health decisions on your behalf.
Having a joint account is not a substitute for an LPA
Major difficulties arise when the bank finds out that one half of a couple has diminished capacity, they can shut down accounts and freeze assets. Even if the joint account isn’t shut down, you still have to be careful how you spend that money remember, legally, it is not all yours. You also cannot access accounts in your partner’s sole name, such as ISA’s etc.
Your ‘Next of kin’ means nothing legally
Many people believe that their ‘next of kin’ can make decisions on their behalf if they lack capacity to make them. The only people who can make decisions on your behalf are those who have been authorised to do so by having a registered LPA.
Dementia can decline faster than the time it takes to secure an LPA
Dementia can mean a person’s mental capacity declines very quickly. If this happens before you can prepare an LPA, it can take more than six months to be awarded a Deputy order, during which time your loved ones would not legally be able to make any decisions on your behalf.
Having a Registered LPA in place in advance will save you money, time and frustration
If you do not have an LPA in place and you lose capacity, your family will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a ‘Deputy’ if any decisions need to be made on your behalf. A Deputy is a court-appointed attorney. An application for a Deputy to be appointed after a person is deemed incapacitated can cost thousands of pounds in fees; securing an LPA in advance can save the majority of these costs.
If you don’t already have an LPA, please consider getting one now
Simply call us on 01782 963 303 or complete our enquiry form here
and one of our consultants will call you to offer advice.