Lasting Power of Attorney
It is an unfortunate fact that our ability to make decisions and care for ourselves becomes more at risk as we enter our later years. As we grow older, our chances of suffering from conditions like dementia become higher, which can have an enormous effect on our quality of life.
Whilst it can be uncomfortable to think about, it is important to make appropriate provisions for the future, to ensure that you will have someone in a position to help you should the worst happen.
With a document called a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), you can appoint ‘Attorneys’ of your choosing, who then have the legal right to make certain decisions on your behalf. Should a time come where you are unable to fully care for yourself, the Attorneys can step in to help shoulder the burden.
It is important to keep in mind that you must be considered to have the mental capacity to make your own decisions at the time the application for an LPA is made. This means that the document is a precautionary measure, and not something that can be requested by family or friends after the fact, should you lose capacity in the future. Once granted, a Lasting Power of Attorney will then last for your entire life.
Whilst Powers of Attorney are often arranged later in life, where the risks of losing mental capacity are higher, we would advise that anyone with complex financial affairs consider them. A lack of capacity can occur at any age, due to illness or accidents, so it’s important to take the appropriate precautions in order to protect yourself.
Whilst the Government has taken steps in recent years to try and simplify the process of acquiring a Lasting Power of Attorney, the current system is still one in which we would strongly recommend instructing a Solicitor to handle the matter for you. An increase in the numbers of people applying for LPAs themselves has resulted in a spate of fraud cases, with misuse and abuses of positions of trust being the fastest growing type of fraud against vulnerable people. It is therefore greatly important that you seek the proper advice and protections when applying for your own Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you have any queries about LPAs, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our expert team, who would be more than happy to discuss with you further.
Should you have a relative or friend who has lost mental capacity, but does not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then you may be able to make an application to the Court of Protection.
There are two types of LPA, which cover different areas. It is usual for most people to apply for both at the same time, but you can apply for just one if you would prefer: