Lasting Powers of Attorney

Have you considered how your affairs might be managed if you were to have an accident or lose capacity? Whilst accidents are rare, it is a sad fact that, as people are living longer, the incidence of dementia is increasing. However, it is also true that, as people age, they welcome the chance to delegate decision-making to trusted friends and family.

The cheapest and most convenient way to give you and your loved ones peace of mind is with a lasting power of attorney (LPA). An LPA is a legal document enabling one person to make decisions on behalf of another. There are two types of LPA: one dealing with property and finances and another which deals with health and care decisions.

LPAs are becoming increasingly common with older clients. However, all younger people and especially business owners should also consider whether they are an appropriate element of a ‘disaster recovery’ strategy. Certainly, other stakeholders may be alarmed to discover the risks to your business that incapacity can create.

Whatever your motivation, if you do not have an LPA in place, it may be difficult for your affairs to be properly managed. In such a case, the Court of Protection would need to decide whom should make decisions on your behalf. This process is time consuming, considerably more expensive and the decision as to whom is appointed is made by the Court, not by you. It is a therefore a good idea to put in place an LPA whereby you can choose who should make decisions on your behalf, how much power they can have and direct the circumstances in which they act.

Types of LPA

Finance LPAs allow your attorneys to make decisions about your assets and liabilities. Subject to how you wish to structure your LPA, your attorneys can run your bank account, manage your investments and plan how to best arrange your wealth. This type of power can be used when you have capacity or when you lack capacity. In this way you can delegate decisions, if say, you are abroad or if you would like to start ‘handing over the reins’.

Health and Care LPAs are used for decisions such as the type of care you might receive, whether to allow life- sustaining treatment or where you might live. Unlike the finance LPAs, these can only be used if you have lost capacity to make the decision in question. Putting in place a framework for how you wish to be treated gives you and your loved ones peace of mind, when they might otherwise be ‘second-guessing’ your decisions or having to act in a very reactive manner.

You will need to decide whom should act, in what manner and how to balance your needs against how effectively your attorneys can work for your benefit. Cognitive Law’s Richard Bates has a wealth of experience in advising clients how best to arrange their affairs in the event of incapacity and can guide you so that your arrangements best suit your circumstances.

Remember, just because you sign an LPA, it does not give your attorneys the ability to take over your affairs straight away. Attorneys can only act in specific circumstances, once the LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. However, by putting in place LPAs you will be best equipping yourself, should you require support in future.

To find out more contact Richard Bates on 01273 284012 or email richard.bates@cognitivelaw.co.uk

Lasting Powers of Attorney Specialists

Richard Bates
Solicitor