Power of Attorney
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Most of us will have had the unfortunate experience of seeing a friend or relative through a physical or mental illness, when this happens, it is often difficult for the family or those seeking to care for the individual to pay outstanding bills or deal with the person’s finances.
If this situation arises, then an application has to be made to become a "Deputy" to that individual, and will need to be sent to the Court of Protection under the Mental Health Act 2005.
The Court of Protection is the body which exists to protect the financial interests of those who are, by reason of mental disorder, no longer capable of looking after their own affairs.
This can all be avoided by drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Before the person who is suffering, is unable to decide upon who should look after their affairs.
An LPA is a legal document that allows you to choose someone that you can trust to make decisions about things such as finances and property on your behalf once it has become to difficult to make those decisions yourself, due poor mental health.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney, these are...
- Property and Affairs LPA. This allows the Attorney or Attorneys to make decisions on the persons behalf about his or her property and affairs, including paying bills, collecting income and benefits or moving house. This type of LPA, does not allow for the Attorney to make any decisions about the welfare or care for the person. A Donor can appoint a Property and Affairs Attorney to manage their finances and property whilst they still have capacity as well as when they lack capacity.
- Personal Welfare LPA. This allows the Attorney or Attorneys to make decisions on the persons behalf about their welfare, including giving consent for medical treatment and deciding where the person should live. These decisions can only be made if the person is incapable of making those decisions on their own, such as if suffering from onset dementia or mental illness. This Attorney does not have any power to decide what to do with the persons property or financial affairs.
Sometimes a person who makes an LPA can stipulate restrictions to ensure that the Attorney can or cannot do somethings on their behalf. It is often important to appoint more than one Power of Attorney, to ensure decisions that are within your best interests can be made as a group.
We recommend considering all the options when faced with the decision of making a Power of Attorney. It is worth taking the time to think about who you would feel comfortable with taking care of your finances, property and you if the worst should happen. Our solicitors offer impartial practical advice, and with a lot of experience in helping people faced with tough decisions such as these, we can make sure you get exactly what it best for you and your family.