Lasting Powers of Attorney
Do you have bank accounts and investments or assets that you own alone? Have you considered what may happen to them if you suddenly fell ill or had a life-changing accident that reduced your capacity? If you haven’t planned ahead already, then arranging lasting powers of attorney could help to give you some peace of mind for the future.
With decades of experience in helping our clients to make personal arrangements, our team of solicitors in Plymouth deliver expert legal advice. We can provide you with the guidance and assistance you need to prepare for and register lasting powers of attorney. Just give us a call on 01752 827067 or email us at [email protected]
What is Power of Attorney?
Lasting powers of attorney (or LPAs) are legal documents that give other people the right to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. This can either be a temporary measure or a permanent arrangement, depending on your personal circumstances.
If an individual becomes unable to handle their own affairs due to ill health or injury, an LPA is designed to allow their appointed attorneys to act on their behalf to make decisions and manage their property and financial affairs.
There are two types of LPA: one for financial affairs and one for healthcare and welfare decisions. These arrangements enable you to appoint a person to make decisions on your behalf now and in the future. This can then be enacted, should you lack capacity through ill health or an injury.
“There are a number of reasons why you may need to consider Powers of Attorney and it’s important that you have all the information that you need to make the right choices. It may also be a good idea to consider how such arrangements are beneficial at any age or at any stage in your life.”
David Cornelius, Partner
How do I arrange Lasting Powers of Attorney?
It’s important to note that you can only begin the process to assign lasting powers of attorney when you still have the mental capacity to understand the process. With this in mind, it’s recommended you arrange it years before you’re likely to need it.
Many of us have investments and accounts in our sole name. If we were to have an accident or lose capacity these accounts would be frozen. Without lasting powers of attorney, it would take your family months to be able to access these accounts and use the money for your benefit.
Arranging to have lasting powers of attorney put in place is a simple process. It’s also sure to save a considerable amount of time and effort in years to come – should your circumstances change. By making arrangements now, you’ll avoid delays in your family accessing finances or making crucial medical decisions. Preemptive action means that your appointed attorneys will be able to act on your behalf instantly.
What else should I consider?
You can also prepare a lasting power of attorney that deals with health and welfare choices. This can include deciding what type of medical treatment you would want and where you would live. We can also assist with temporary or general powers of attorney. This allows decisions to be made on your behalf if you are in hospital for example, or if you are dealing with a sale or transaction whilst you are out of the country. Remember, the sooner you put this in place, the easier things will be later down the line.
Find out more
Our team of solicitors are here and ready to help you. Contact us to discuss your situation and what you would like to achieve. We can then advise on the best options for you. Our solicitors can also assist in preparing the powers of attorney forms and registering them for you – all for an agreed fixed fee.
They are powers appointing someone else to manage your affairs if you become too unwell in the future to manage them yourself. There are two kinds, one covering financial affairs and one covering health and welfare decisions.
Anything that you own can be included in a financial decision, which includes your property and savings, and might also include any business that you might own or have a share of, it includes all your personal possessions and any outstanding loans. Your attorney can do anything with your financial arrangements that you can, except make significant gifts.
Any medical decision about any form of treatment or drug therapy, including the right to refuse medication or treatment. Social care decisions include what you wear, what you eat and who visits you. An important decision is where you live, including whether you go into a care home and if so, which one.
There is a separate question about life-sustaining treatment, such treatment can include CPR, food and fluid, medication, admission to hospital or antibiotics. It is any kind of treatment that sustains life. You can choose to allow your attorneys to make this decision on your behalf or not.
Yes, you can appoint both attorneys in the first instance and substitute attorneys (if something were to happen to your first set of attorneys). It is advisable to appoint more than one attorney, to ensure you still have someone to care for you, if something should happen to your main attorney/s.
The attorneys can act either jointly which means that all of your attorneys must agree (which can be inconvenient) or jointly and severally, which means that any one of your attorneys can act on their own. If you specify it, you can have a hybrid of this, where some decisions are jointly and some are jointly and severally, you need to stipulate which decisions are to be made either way.
Technically the LPA is not created until the date that it is registered at the Office of the Public Guardian, which can take 2-3 months after the document is signed by the donor and the attorneys.
As long as your proposed attorneys are over the age of 18, there is no time when it is too soon to create them, but if you were to have an unexpected illness or accident, it could be too late. They do not need to be used immediately after they are created.
Your family will be forced to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order, which takes longer than the registration of an LPA and costs more money in both legal fees and registration fees. There are also ongoing bond and supervision costs with deputyship, which are not incurred with LPAs.