In the future you may need someone to make decisions for you in relation to Property, Financial, Health or Welfare matters. This could be for a number of reasons; age, illness, disability, mental incapacity or even just travelling. Secure your future decisions now by choosing people you trust to make these decisions in a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) document. The people you choose would be your attorneys and whether this is your partner, a trusted relative or a good friend is entirely your choice.
There are two types of LPA – Property & Financial Affairs (PA) and Health & Welfare (HW). These documents have to be made and signed while you have full mental capacity. Before an attorney can act on your behalf, your documents will be registered with the Office of Public Guardian (OPG).
A Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (PA) takes care of your financial affairs, property, money and assets. This means that your chosen attorney can pay your bills and deal with your income when you can’t.
One reason for a Property & Financial Affairs LPA is to avoid the possibility of family arguments over who takes responsibility for your assets. An LPA can be tailored to meet your specific requirements. You can hand over as little or as much control as you wish to your attorney.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you die, the LPA is no longer valid and the powers of your Attorney(s) end.
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.
Your Norfolk Will Writing consultant is happy to offer guidance; which is also available from the Office of the Public Guardian.