Lasting Powers of Attorney Advice
How important is it to have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, what are they and why would I need them?
We are currently facing delays with deputyship applications due to the Court of Protection being extremely slow. It is therefore more than ever, very important for people to think about proactively putting Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in place so that your decisions around your finances and health and welfare are documented to avoid the delay of waiting for a deputyship application to be approved to allow an attorney to manage your personal affairs if you are no longer able to.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables you to give a person you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lose mental or physical capacity or if you no longer wish to make those decisions yourself. There are two types of LPA – one that covers your finances and one that covers health and welfare decisions.
You may no longer be able to make or implement decisions either on a temporary basis such as a visit to hospital for an operation, or on a more permanent basis, for example, following a diagnosis of dementia. If either of these scenarios were to happen, can you ensure that things are looked after on your behalf by a trusted person? If you want this protection, then you should consider a Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare can only be used if you no longer have mental capacity to make these decisions yourself and it is in your best interests to make such decisions. They cover health, care and welfare decisions such as where you live, what medical treatment and care you receive, what you should eat and who you have contact with and what social activities you take part in. In Health & Welfare LPA’s you can also decide whether your Attorney is able to make decisions about life sustaining treatment.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Affairs can be used while you have mental capacity but your physical capacity is compromised, or you can opt for them to be valid only if you have lost mental capacity. They can cover all decisions about your finances including buying and selling property, paying your bills such as mortgage or rental payments, care home fees and utilities and investing your money.
You can restrict what your Attorney is able to do or allow them to make and implement all decisions that you would otherwise make and implement if you were able. Your Attorney cannot do whatever they want. They must always act in your best interests, keep records of what they are doing and keep your finances separate from their own. You can ask for an independent person, such as your
Solicitor, to be given information about how your finances are being dealt with including what your money is being spent on.
Make sure you keep your LPA updated if your circumstances change. Your choices around the people you want responsible for your finances and wellbeing may change, such as following a marriage or divorce, when children reach adulthood, or if parents pass away.
Whatever decisions you make about your future, it is important to involve a specialist Solicitor who will give you impartial advice and act in your best interests.
Bethany Worthy is a Solicitor in the Private Client team of solicitors at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors in Pickering, looking after clients all across the Ryedale and Scarborough regions. She is a Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) accredited member. Her membership of SFE shows she has a wealth of experience within this key legal area as members are required to have spent a substantial amount of time working for older and vulnerable people as well as support for the family and carers.
Bethany’s expert help and advice includes guidance on selling your home or ways to stay in your home, making a Will. Living Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney, gifts and estate planning, funding long term care and Court of Protection.
You can contact Bethany at the Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors Pickering office on 01751 472121 or email: b. [email protected]