The Different Types of Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is an important legal document that enables an individual (the ‘Donor’) to elect one or more Attorneys to act on their behalf. This would be essential if an individual were to lose mental capacity because without LPAs, nobody would have automatic access of their financial assets. If the individual had LPAs in place, their nominated Attorneys would have the authority to act on the Donor’s behalf. In most circumstances, the Attorneys would be the Donor’s family members, trusted friends, or a professional solicitor. There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney to consider.
• Financial Decisions – managing current accounts, savings, investments, buying or selling property, welfare benefits, tax and debt
• Health & Care Decisions – deciding upon medical treatment, healthcare, and housing
One type of Lasting Power of Attorney is for ‘Financial Decisions’. When a person registers their LPA Financial Decisions, they nominate Attorneys to act on their behalf. The assigned Attorneys are then able manage the Donor’s finances. They would make decisions about: current accounts, savings, investments, buying or selling property, welfare benefits, tax and debts. This type of LPA is valid from the moment it is registered, regardless of whether the Donor has mental capacity or not.
Health & Care Decisions
The other type of Lasting Power of Attorney is for ‘Health & Care Decisions’. In the case of a person becoming ill or having an accident where they lose mental capacity, their elected Attorney is able to make decisions on their behalf if they are given that responsibility. This includes not only immediate healthcare and treatment, but also the place in which the individual lives, and the ongoing care they receive. This type of LPA is only relevant once an individual has lost mental capacity. Until then, the individual will be responsible for making their own Health & Care Decisions.
What happens if you do not have LPAs and you lose mental capacity?
Lasting Power of Attorney can only be completed when the individual has mental capacity. Without having LPAs in place, your assets would not be accessible to other people. This is problematic, as without mental capacity, you may not be able to access your own assets either. Relatives or friends may want to act on your behalf without mental capacity. However, they would be forced to go to court to be appointed as a Deputy. This is a costly and lengthy process and can be avoided. Completing Lasting Power of Attorney early can prevent many future problems from happening.