A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables your trusted representative(s) to oversee your finances (Property and Financial Affairs LPA) and your welfare (Health and Welfare LPA) in the event that you no longer have the capacity to do so. There are now more people in the UK with Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia than ever before.
Dealing with these matters in old age or ill-health can be problematical or impossible if you have lost capacity. If you should lose capacity and have no LPA in place, a Court Deputy will be appointed to look after your affairs, potentially costing you many thousands of pounds, with on-going fees. Your deputy will not necessarily do for you the things your loved ones might do.
An LPA must be completed by the donor (you) and your attorney(s), witnessed and signed by a Certificate Provider and returned to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). I will usually act as the Certificate Provider for my clients.
Your Attorney can act only when you ask him to whilst you are compos mentis. Once you lose capacity, he can still act but can only do so in your best interests and is answerable to the OPG. He can deal with your bank, buy and sell your property and make decisions regarding your medical treatment. The forms do permit you to restrict your Attorneys’ powers or apply conditions. You can have more than one Attorney, and they can act either together or alone.
Nobody can be sure of retaining capacity throughout life – it makes great sense to have LPAs and they must be made before you begin to lose capacity, so it is crucial not to delay.
Having Lasting Powers of Attorney is like making a Will to cover your lifetime insofar as you put in place the arrangements to cover what would happen should you no longer be able to make decisions for yourself.