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Lasting Powers of Attorney
What you should know about LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY (LPA)
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The LPA is a legal document that enables a person’s trusted representative(s) – known as Attorney(s) – to oversee their finances and welfare. Dealing with money and welfare matters in old age or ill health can be difficult and worrying – perhaps even impossible. Although you could instead nominate a Deputy to handle your affairs, this can be a lengthy and costly process. The simplest solution is for you (the Donor) to appoint one or more Attorneys to manage your affairs on your behalf before you become unable to do so.
Are there different types of LPA?
Yes, there are two different types:
A Property and Affairs LPA allows your Attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your property and affairs, including paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits or selling your house subject to any restrictions or conditions. It does not allow your Attorney to make decisions about your personal welfare.
A Personal Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare, including whether to give or refuse consent to medical treatment on your behalf and deciding where you live.These decisions can only be taken on your behalf when you lack the capacity to make them yourself, for example if you are ill, unconscious or because of the onset of a condition such as dementia. The Attorney may not make decisions about your property and affairs.
Who might need an LPA?
Most of us will be fortunate enough to live long lives, but we may not always be able to manage our own affairs. If you were to suffer significant physical or mental incapacity, an LPA could make your life much easier and less stressful for you and your loved ones, as well as protecting your interests. An LPA is like an insurance policy: you hope that you’ll never need it, but if you do – it’s invaluable.
How do I make an LPA?
The LPA application is an official form that must be completed and signed by the Donor and Attorneys in the presence of a witness. It also needs to be certified and must be registered with the court before it can be used. Your Norfolk Will Writing consultant can guide you through the whole process simply and swiftly.
What can my Attorney do?
You can give your Attorney general authority to manage all your finances, including paying your bills, signing cheques, dealing with your bank, and buying or selling property and making decisions on medical treatment. However, you are free to restrict the Attorney’s powers if you wish. For example, you may want to insist that the Attorney obtains medical evidence before the powers can be exercised, or require him or her to account annually for actions taken to a solicitor or relative.
When do my Attorney’s powers become effective?
Once a Property and Affairs LPA is signed, you can continue to handle your own financial affairs. If you prefer your Attorney to help you with them, then the LPA must be registered. However, once an Attorney believes that you are, or are becoming mentally incapable he or she must register the LPA with the Office of Public Guardianship (OPG) in order to take full control of your financial affairs. The LPA is not legally valid unless registered.
A Personal Welfare LPA must also be registered before it can be used, but decisions can only be made on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself.
What if I want to cancel the LPA?
Provided you are still mentally capable, you can revoke the LPA. Once the LPA is registered with the OPG you would need medical evidence and the Court’s permission to revoke the LPA.
What happens when I die?
When you die, the LPA is no longer valid and the powers of your Attorney(s) end.
Can Attorneys charge for their services?
Professional Attorneys are entitled to charge for their work. If you appoint a friend or family member as Attorney, then they may claim reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.
Who can advise an Attorney about their role?
Your Norfolk Will Writing consultant is happy to offer guidance; which is also available from the Office of the Public Guardian.