It may surprise you to hear that nobody has the automatic right to make critical decisions about your welfare or finance, regardless of your state of health or their relationship to you; husband, wife, parent, brother, sister or long term partner, it makes no difference. If, in the unfortunate event that you require someone to oversee decisions on your behalf, you will need to have registered for a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
In this blog, Acumen answers some of your most frequently asked questions about powers of attorney.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA is when you give someone else the authority to make decisions concerning your welfare or estate on your behalf. This could be for any number of reasons, such as if you move abroad and require someone to oversee your affairs at home, incur a debilitating accident or injury, or require nursing care. An LPA allows you to grant permission for someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf.
Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
No-one has an automatic right to make decisions on another person’s behalf, not even a spouse, parent, sibling or friend. A Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and it can be done by anyone aged 18 or over with the mental capacity to do so, in order to hand over control.
Are there different types of Lasting Power of Attorney?
Yes, there are. A Personal Welfare LPA gives your Attorney the authority to make your healthcare decision whereas a Property and Affairs LPA give your Attorney the right to handle your finances and property.
What is involved in a Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you decide to give someone Lasting Power of Attorney for your personal welfare, this means that they can make all decisions on your behalf regarding your healthcare and personal welfare. You must make the LPA while you have the mental capacity to do so but this type of LPA can only be put into action once you are deemed to lack mental capacity.
Some of the decisions that your Attorney can make for you include:
- Refusing medical treatment.
- Where you are cared for and the type of care you receive.
- Day-to-day things like your diet, dress and daily routine.
If you do not want your Attorney to make all of these decisions for you, you can specify which decisions you want them to make on your behalf.
What is involved in a Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney?
To make someone your Attorney for decisions concerning your property and affairs you must still have your mental capacity. When making someone your financial LPA you are giving them the authority to make decisions, such as:
- Running your bank and savings accounts.
- Making or selling investments.
- Paying your bills.
- Buying or selling your house.
Again, you can be prescriptive about which decisions you want your Attorney to make for you and you don’t have to have lost mental capacity before you put this type of LPA into action, it may be that it is just more convenient for you if your Attorney can look after your financial matters. Your Attorney should always make sure that your finances are kept separately from their own.
If you own a joint bank account or home together, your Attorney will need to inform the appropriate bank or mortgage provider that he or she is now acting on your behalf. If you no longer have the mental capacity, you can have these details sent to a family member or solicitor.
How do I set up a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are different ways to do this for example you can speak to your solicitor who will prepare the documents for you or we can direct you to a solicitor we know and can recommend, we can offer power of attorney guidance and it’s also possible to download the necessary forms direct from the OPG website.
Finally to provide the framework that ensures your financial wishes are met in the event that your Attorney requires financial advice to secure your independence with care in your own home, Acumen can also offer help, support and guidance.
For more information about our Lasting Powers of Attorney services, please contact one of advisers today by calling 0151 520 4353 or email [email protected].