What is meant by Lasting Power of Attorney?

31/05/2022

What is meant by Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is something that we are always keen on discussing with our clients. It is a legal tool that allows you to appoint an individual you can trust to make decisions on your behalf, should you find yourself in a position where you cannot make these decisions in the future. The thought of appointing an LPA may be a morbid concept to you, as the prospect of your mental capacity deteriorating in the future is never a positive thing to do; however, the importance of setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney can be compared to that of purchasing a house insurance policy.

LPAs are documents where you appoint a person or persons to make personal health and welfare decisions on your behalf or regarding handling and maintaining your finances should you become incapable or unwilling to do so. Using an LPA will ensure that the person you have appointed can fulfil any medical wishes you possess and ensure that you are not receiving any treatment you are not privy to or in agreement with.

 

Does a lasting power of Attorney override a will?

The purpose of a Will is to protect your beneficiaries' interests after you have passed away. A Lasting Power of Attorney protects your interests while you are still alive until you pass away. When you do pass away, the power of Attorney will cease, and your Will will then be applied. There is no overlap between the two. 

When you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, you give someone you trust the authority to make decisions and act in your best interests and on your behalf while you are still alive. 


What are the benefits of having a power of Attorney?

There are several benefits of having a Lasting Power of Attorney; we have listed just a few reasons why you should have a Lasting Power of Attorney:

  • An LPA puts matters in the hands of someone you trust  

A Lasting Power of Attorney will act in your best interests and could be someone close to you, for example, your partner, children, or a close family member. You can also appoint more than one Power of Attorney if you wish to. 

  • You can decide when your LPA can come into effect

If you have set up an LPA in advance, you can decide when it comes into effect. When you have a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, you may not want it to begin straight away. Alternatively, you may want it to start as soon as you find you are beginning to lack the mental capacity to make your own decisions. Our solicitors will ensure that LPAs come into effect soon after you deem it necessary. 

  • You get better outcomes with an LPA

If you become unable to think clearly or lose the mental capacity to make important decisions, you can appoint someone close to you to make these decisions on your behalf. This means you will end up with outcomes that favour your situation and decisions similar to your own if you had the mental capacity to do so yourself.

  • There are different types of LPA

Ultimately, there are two different types of LPA, which is good because you can decide which one is the best option for you, your affairs, and your solution. The two types are:

  1. Health and Welfare LPA- this is an LPA that grants your Attorney the power to decide your healthcare, your affairs, and your situation.
  2. Property and Financial Affairs LPA- This will grant your Attorney the authority to manage your finances, property, and assets, which applies only if they are in England or Wales. 
  • It gives you and your loved ones peace of mind

With a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can appoint various people to take on different roles. The attorney who is covering your finances must speak with a professional advisor before making decisions on investments. This will stop your LPA from making hasty and reckless decisions with your money.

 Although it is not something that anyone takes pleasure in thinking about, accidents can happen. Illnesses like Alzheimer's can affect your mental capacity very quickly. 

When you appoint your LPA with a solicitor, you may be at the height of your health, but there is comfort in knowing that if the worst-case scenario happens, you will be looked after by someone you trust, who can also take care of your responsibilities and affairs. 

If you are considering setting up your LPA, it is highly recommended that you speak to a solicitor. You should not leave things last minute. You should work with a solicitor, use their expertise to your advantage, and not attempt to do their job yourself. 

 

Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors

This area of law can often be complex. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise regarding handling a loved one's affairs when the loss of capacity occurs.

Discussing your decisions with any relevant medical professionals or your family and friends is a good idea, but these documents must be well-drafted by an experienced professional to be effective as the rules regarding these can be complicated, especially when a Living Will is in conjunction with other legal documents such as a Lasting Power of Attorney.  

At Russell & Russell Solicitors, our specialist private client team can advise on all matters concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney and Living Wills. We can also provide legal advice and guidance on the court of protection and have the knowledge and expertise to provide expert advice on the Mental Capacity Act 2005. We can advise on all stages of the assessment process, make applications to the Court of Protection or provide guidance on the appropriate solution should disputes arise. For more information on how we can help you with your Lasting Power of Attorney or any other Wills and Probate enquiries, click here, call us on 07919 591416 (24 hr helpline) or fill out a contact form.

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