Helping you with Lasting Power of Attorney documents
Considering what would happen if our faculties deserted us is uncomfortable thought but think how much worse the situation would be if you had a stroke, serious accident or dementia without sorting it first?
If someone has difficulties meaning they can’t make decisions anymore, they will need assistance in managing their finances. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document where someone nominates a trusted relative or friend to look after their affairs if they lost capacity.
Knowing When LPA Documents Can Be Issued
The key point to remember is that you don’t suddenly give up control and can choose whether an LPA can be used either before, or only when, you lose mental capacity
The representative you choose should only ever make a choice for you if you’re unable to make that specific decision at the time it needs to be made.
LPAs have replaced the previous Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) system although, EPAs set up before 1st October 2007 will still be valid, whether they have been registered or not, though they must be registered when the person loses capacity.
Understanding the Two Types of Lasting Power of Attorney
When you first mention an LPA and the majority of people will automatically think of a person’s finances, but there are actually two types of document to consider. These are as follows –
• Finance and Property
• Health and Welfare – This document sees a nominated individual make decisions over day-to-day healthcare and medical treatments plus they will deal with any health and social care staff.
Because you give the trusted person power of attorney over your health does not mean they will automatically gain control over your financial affairs and vice-versa. If you decide you want the same individual to have power of attorney over both the finance and property plus health and welfare of your care, then you will have to fill out the two forms separately.
The key difference with a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney document is that it can only be used after the person loses capacity, not before.
Why Do I Need to Setup a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you lose mental capacity and you haven’t filled out Power of Attorney forms, your loved ones will need to apply through court to become ‘deputy’ which is a long and expensive process.
Just remember you can only set up a Lasting Power of Attorney when you have a mental capacity as once you’ve lost capacity it’s too late.
Who Decided About Your Mental Capacity?
According to the Mental Capacity Act 2005; a person is unable to make a decision if they can’t do one of the following:
• Understand information relevant to a decision
• Retain that information long enough to make the decision
• Use or weigh that information
• Or, communication the decision
When you make a Power of Attorney in England and Wales, a ‘certificate provider’ will decide if you’re capable of making that choice. This can be someone you’ve known for two years or someone with relevant professional skills such as a doctor, lawyer or a social worker.