A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal agreement that allows you to appoint one or more people (‘attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf (or to assist you in making decisions). They are designed to control what happens to you should you have an illness or an accident and be unable to make your own decisions (i.e. you lack ‘mental capacity’).
There are two types of LPA:
- Property and Financial Affairs – This LPA gives your attorney the power to make decisions about your financial affairs and can be used as soon as it is registered as long as you give your permission. This could include paying your bills, collecting your pension or benefits and managing your bank account. It could also involve making major financial decisions such as selling your home.
- Health and Welfare– Using this LPA enables your attorney to make decisions about your medical care as well as your social care. It can include decisions about your daily routine (e.g. Personal Care, Eating and dressing) but can also include decisions that may need to be made on moving you to a care home or life-sustaining treatment.
Whilst much commentary on LPAs focuses on their value for those with diagnosed deteriorating mental illness, LPAs are recommended for all adults as they act as a safeguard to ensure our interests are looked after whatever may happen to us in the future. They ensure that our trusted relatives or friends can look after our affairs on our behalf should we lose mental capacity on a temporary or permanent basis.
You can prepare your own LPA, or you may prefer to involve a solicitor.
- If you are preparing the LPA yourself, follow the excellent government advice on how to apply online (see link below) and then register it (current cost £82). There is good advice online but also a helpful printable guide (link below).
- Should you prefer to get professional assistance with your LPA, you will need to find a suitable solicitor.
A good solicitor can also give you valuable advice on Wills, Gifts and Estate Planning. Some are also very helpful on giving you guidance on long term care planning and benefits available from your Local Authority and the NHS. For more information see our articles ‘How much does it cost to have a carer?’and ‘What financial help can I get for my Care and Support?’. You may find it valuable to contact several local firms, explain what your circumstances and ask them for an estimate of costs. Alternatively, the Society for the Elderly is an independent legal organisation who provide advice to older people across the UK.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also find it valuable to talk to a financial advisor. See our article ‘Paying for your own Care’. Try consulting The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) who offer an online search of accredited financial advisors with a good understanding of the financial challenges in later life. Independent Financial advisers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and will take responsibility for the suitability of any recommendations they make.
Lasting Powers of Attorney