A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives you the opportunity to appoint an attorney (or several) to make decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do so for yourself. There are two different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, which relate to health and welfare and property and financial affairs.
What do they do?
Property and financial affairs LPAs deal with financial matters and any decisions made in relation to your property. Health and welfare LPAs cover issues such as where you should live, arrangements for day-to-day care and consenting to or refusing life sustaining medical treatment.
Why they are important?
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made when an individual has the requisite capacity to consent, and is aged 18 or over.
Without the appropriate authority in place, it can make things very difficult for your family and friends to help you when needed. This can result in the need to apply to the Court of Protection to request such authority, which is a far lengthier and costly process.
When making Lasting Powers of Attorney, you have the authority to decide who you appoint. It is important to ensure you nominate somebody who you believe will carry out your wishes – this is particularly important when making a health and welfare LPA.
Many people do not feel there is a need for a health and welfare LPA, for example if they already have a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’, agreement in place. However, a health and welfare LPA is just as important to have in place as one relating to property and finances.
There is no automatic legal right for family or friends to make medical or care decisions on your behalf and therefore appointing someone gives them the authority to make those decisions as if they were you.
If your family is aware that you have made these arrangements, it is more likely to save any frustration or feelings of being side-lined at the lack of involvement in your care or medical decisions.
If you have not prepared an LPA we can make any necessary Court of Protection applications, in addition to preparing Lasting Power of Attorneys.
We are committed to, and working towards, becoming an accredited Dementia Friendly organisation. Our dedicated team work with those already living with dementia. We recognise when they may require additional assistance, and we offer meetings with them in their own homes or areas of comfort. We aim to work with people to ensure that they are as in control of their own affairs as much as possible.
Things to consider when planning your LPAs?
- How many attorneys would you like to appoint?
- If appointing more than one, how would they make decisions – jointly, or both jointly and individually?
- Is/Are your chosen attorney(s) able to assist in emergencies? Is it practical to appoint this person?
- Is/Are your chosen attorney(s) trustworthy and have the appropriate mind-set to make decisions on your behalf?
- Is there anybody you would like to notify that you are making LPAs?