Lasting Power of Attorney
When you are young and healthy, your life probably feels endless. However, as you mature you do not necessarily know what is in store for you. Without your health, life can start to create some unexpected challenges.
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney ‘LPA’ in place can provide you with the support that you may need and an extend your independence.
An LPA is like having an insurance policy in place that you may never need, but if you did, you can choose the right people to help maintain your independence.
What is a Lasting Power Of Attorney?
An LPA is a legal document known as a ‘Deed’ that gives one or more people – known as attorneys – the power to make decisions on your behalf. Despite what the name suggests, attorneys can be pretty much anyone you choose. Typically, they’re family members or trusted friends.
The only restriction is that an attorney cannot be bankrupt or subject to a Debt Relief Order. There are two kinds of LPA, and we recommend you have both:
• Property and financial affairs
• Health and welfare
Property and financial affairs
A property and financial affairs LPA would be useful if you have to go into hospital, for example. You might be laid up for a few days and unable to get to the bank. Or you might feel too ill to cope with financial matters. Your attorney could help by withdrawing cash from the bank and making sure your bills are paid.
Health and welfare
The second kind of LPA covers health and welfare. This could be vital to you if the unthinkable happens and you fall victim to dementia, for example. It’s surprisingly common, affecting 1 in 5 people over 80. The symptoms of dementia are associated with a decline in the correct functioning of your brain. It can diminish your mental sharpness, affect your judgement and cause memory loss.
With an LPA in place, you’ll have the peace of mind that one of your attorneys can make critical decisions about your health and welfare if you cannot and support you to remain in your home. If you are like most people, they would rather remain in their own home than be forced into a care home.
LPAs came into effect with the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, replacing Enduring Power of Attorney ‘EPA’. Prior to 2005 the EPA only covered property and financial affairs.
If you have an EPA, it is still valid providing your Attorney’s are still able to support you. However, we would recommend applying for an LPA to cover health and welfare as well.