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Adam Scott, Private client solicitor

Tips for making a Lasting Power of Attorney

| Published on June 15, 2016

Adam Scott, Private Client Partner at Humphries Kirk, explains what a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) document is and why it could be important that you have one in place.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An LPA can last your entire lifetime and allow you to decide who would help manage your affairs in the event that you no longer wanted to yourself or were unable to do so due to mental incapacity.

The two types of LPA

1. Property and Financial Affairs LPA

This type of LPA gives your appointed attorneys (family members, friends or a solicitor) the legal authority to manage your bank accounts, investments, and if necessary pay your bills or sell your property.

2. Health and Welfare LPA

This LPA gives your attorneys the legal authority to make decisions about all aspects of your health and welfare in the event that you are unable to. This may include deciding on your living arrangements, receiving receipt of medical treatment and more intricate decisions such as what you wear and the food you eat.

It is possible to place restrictions on your attorneys and to leave them guidance in the LPA documents.

Requirements under the LPAs

As well as giving careful thought to your choice of attorneys and replacement attorneys, you must also choose a certificate provider; this is someone who signs the LPA to confirm that you have the capacity to understand the content and implications of the process.

Registration

All attorneys must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can act under your LPA.

The usual recommendation is that registration takes place once the LPAs have been drawn up, but some people choose to register theirs at a later date.

What will happen if I lose mental capacity and don’t have an LPA in place?

If you lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA in place, then someone will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This takes away the decision of who will look after your affairs from you and is a lengthy and costly procedure.

Why should I use a legal professional to prepare my LPAs

Unfortunately, Attorneyships do go wrong as a result of failing to properly consider the identity of the attorney or due to the actions taken by that person.

People often assume that they should appoint their children as attorneys, but it is important to ask whether they will be able to make tough decisions in the future. Can they be objective and keep your best interests in mind?

For LPAs that have been ill-prepared, appointing family members can fail later on when they aren’t prepared to make a decision, fall out, or do not have the relevant expertise to deal with the issue.

Adam Scott is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly, if you want to talk more about Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact him on 01202 715815/ 42111.

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