How Can A Power of Attorney Help Me?
It is very unfortunate that many of us will be affected by physical or mental incapacity at some stage in our lives. The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that in 2021 there will be 1 million people suffering from dementia in the UK and unfortunately this is continuing to rise due to increasing life expectancy. Having an LPA also known as a Lasting Power of Attorney in place will provide you with peace of mind and will make life easier for you and your loved one.
An LPA is a legal document that allows you to choose someone to act as your attorney. They will be allowed to make choices regarding your health, welfare, property and financial affairs, or both once you lose capacity. This must be done whilst you still had capacity.
You can appoint anyone that you trust as your attorney as long as they are ages 18 or over and are not bankrupt. You can appoint one or more attorneys and it is also possible to appoint replacement attorneys. This often will be encouraged by your solicitor as it provides further security if your attorney should be unable or unwilling to act on your behalf.
What Decisions Can My Attorney Make?
The choices your attorney can make will totally depend on which documents you have prepared and which choices and decisions you have allowed them to make. It is common for the attorneys to be given general authority to act on your behalf as this will allow them to make all choices that you would have made if not for your incapacity.
Generally, a Health and Welfare LPA allows attorneys to make the following choices such as:
- Where you should live
- Your diet
- Medical Treatment
- Who you should have contact with
And a Property and Financial LPA allows an attorney to deal with the following:
- Paying Bills
- Dealing with property
- Opening and closing Bank accounts.
When Should I appoint A Power Of Attorney?
Many people believe that you do not need to appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney until you are entering old age, but this simply isn’t true. In reality, something that impacts your decision-making ability could happen at any point in life. It is important to keep in mind that neither your relatives or your spouse are legally allowed to make decisions concerning your health and welfare or finances without an LPA in place. This means it is vital to ensure an LPA is in order to protect your own wellbeing in the future.
Who Shall I Choose As An Attorney?
When choosing your Attorney (you can choose more than one. It is important to choose someone you trust to look after your affairs. Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to be an attorney. The only stipulation in the case of property and financial affairs LPA is that they must not be bankrupt.
Most commonly people choose members of their family members or close friends to act as an attorney. You may want to also consider business partners or trusted professional advisors. If you appoint more than one attorney, you can also choose how you would like decisions to be made on your behalf. Your attorneys can either make decisions jointly where they must make all decisions together or jointly and severally, in where they can act individually or together.
What Happens If I don’t have an LPA in Place?
If you lose the ability to make your own decisions and there is no LPA in place, you will need to apply to the Court of Protection. The Court of Protection will decide whether or not you have the mental capacity to make a decision. If the court rules that you are no longer able to make decisions by yourself, it can make a direct order relating to your health and care decisions or property and financial decisions for you. The Court of Protection can also appoint a Deputy to make decisions on your behalf.
What Does A Deputy Do?
A Deputy has a similar role to an Attorney and they must follow the same principles and proceedings to make sure all decisions are made with your best interests in mind. There are two types of Deputy: A property and Financial Affairs Deputy and Personal Welfare Deputy.
Lasting Power of Attorney ensures that any decisions are being made on your behalf by someone you trust. It also helps to take the pressure off of your family and friends by making the management of your affairs as simple and as straightforward as possible. Do not put off making a Lasting Power of Attorney until it’s too late. Get in touch with a member of the Ratcliffes team today for more information and advice on getting the process started today on 01795 334626.