Lasting Power of Attorney – Planning Ahead with Ratcliffes Solicitors
To ensure that the people you trust can make important decisions on your behalf when you are unable to, you must make sure that you have the appropriate documents ready. It is, for this reason, we advise our clients to make sure they have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Here at Ratcliffes Solicitors, we offer an expert Lasting Power of Attorney service in Sittingbourne.
What Is A Lasting Power of Attorney?
Contrary to what some may believe, a lasting power of attorney does not prevent you from managing and dealing with your own affairs whilst you are able to. However, it does allow you to appoint specific attorneys to make choices on your behalf.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
Property and Financial Affairs: This will allow your chosen attorney or attorneys to deal with and make decisions regarding both your finances and any property you own. You can choose whether your attorney(s) can immediately handle your affairs as whilst you have the capacity they must have your full consent to do so. You can choose whether to limit their power so that they can only ever act when you are unable to yourself.
An LPA for property and financial affairs will cover decisions such as:
- Buying & selling a property
- Paying mortgage payments
- Investing any money
- Paying any bills
- Arranging any repairs needed to a property
Health & Welfare: This lasting power of attorney will allow your chosen attorney or attorneys to make important health and welfare decisions for you. This is only when you lack the capacity to make these choices yourself.
An LPA for health and welfare will cover decisions such as:
- Where you should live
- Your medical care
- Who you have contact with
- What social activities you should take part in
(This can also extend to, if you wish, giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life-sustaining treatment.)
If you are married or in a civil partnership, you will understandably assume that your spouse will automatically be able to make these decisions for you, if you cannot. This is not the case, they would need an LPA to have this authority.
Who Can I Choose To Be An Attorney?
You can choose anyone over 18, this includes your partner, a family member or a friend. It is imperative that you trust this person and you choose someone who understands your wishes, respects your values and would make a decision in your best interest.
Ask yourself these questions when choosing who you would like to be your attorney:
- Do they understand my wishes?
- Will they respect me and what I believe in?
- Do I trust them to stand by me and my choices even if others disagree?
You are also able to have more than one power of attorney, there is no limit to this, although we would advise that you appoint a maximum of 4. You will also be able to choose one or several replacement attorneys too who will be able to take over the role if the original attorney(s) cannot continue their role for various reasons.
Here are the ways in which joint attorneys can make decisions for you.
Jointly: If you choose for your attorneys to act jointly, they will be making choices together. This means both attorneys would need to agree before any actions could take place.
Jointly & Severally: This means that your power of attorneys can work together or individually. This means if only one power of attorney could be contacted they can still make a decision for you.
A mixture of the two: This simply means that in some situations your attorneys will have to make decisions together and in others they will be allowed to make choices individually. If you do not specify these situations they will have to work jointly.
What Happens If I Don’t Have A Power Of Attorney?
If you lose the capacity to make your own decisions and you do not have an LPA or Enduring Power of Attorney you will need to apply for a Court of Protection.
The Court of Protection can help you by:
- Deciding whether you have the mental capacity to make choices on your own.
- Make an order relating to the health and care decisions, property and financial decisions of someone who can’t do it themselves.
- Appoint a deputy to make decisions on behalf of someone who can’t.
How Can The Ratcliffes Team Help?
If you are looking to appoint a power of attorney in Sittingbourne, here at Ratcliffes Solicitors it is our goal to ensure you create a valid document that outlines all of your wishes and values, giving you complete peace of mind and your future are secure and in safe hands.
If you need advice or have a few questions you would like to ask us, we are more than happy to help. Give one of the team a call today on 01795 334 626.