Trusts & Wills

How to Organise Lasting Power of Attorney

We all assume that our minds will stay sharp and healthy as we age.  Unfortunately, as we continue to live longer lives, the chances of developing dementia or some other mentally degenerative disease are bound to increase.  As of 2015 there are an estimated 46.8 million living with dementia worldwide and this is expected to increase to 131.5 million by 2050.  If you develop this disease or lose your mental capacity in some other way; for example through injury or another type of illness, someone else will need to look after your personal and financial affairs.

What is Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

An LPA gives another person (known as an Attorney) authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack the capacity to do so.  There are two types of LPAs;

  • financial and property
  • health and care

When setting up an LPA you can have both types or just one or the other.

What does a financial and property and health and welfare LPA cover?

Financial and property LPAs allow for your Attorney to perform functions such as:

  • manage your bank account
  • pay bills
  • sell property if it is needed to fund your care
  • invest money and buy property

A health and care LPA can allow your Attorney to:

  • administer medication
  • make decisions about your diet
  • decide if you need to move into a care home and choose one for you
  • make medical decisions on your behalf

Can I limit what powers my Attorney has?

You decide when you draft the LPA the extent of control you wish to grant.  For example, you may put in the LPA that your Attorney has the power to pay your bills but not sell your property unless the proceeds of the sale are needed to fund your care.

Who should I choose as my Attorney?

You can have more than one Attorney and they are generally family members or very close friends.  The most important qualities they must have are;

they know you well enough to anticipate your needs and wishes if you are unable to express them;

you trust that they will always act in your best interests

What is required to make a LPA valid?

To set up a valid LPA you must:

  • have full mental capacity when it is created
  • not be under any duress from other people to establish an LPA

A professional person such as a Solicitor must sign a document stating that when the LPA was set up the above factors were true.

The LPA will then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

To set up a valid LPA it is best to seek experienced legal advice.  A Solicitor will ensure that you take into account all the powers you may require your Attorney to have in the future and file the document correctly.

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