Powers of Attorney
Have you considered what would happen if you lost the ability to manage your own financial or health and welfare affairs in the future?
By making a Lasting Power of Attorney (an LPA), you can decide, in advance, who you would like to make those decisions for you, giving you peace of mind knowing you will be cared about in the future.
At Thorntons Solicitors, our specialist lawyers can advise and assist you in connection with the preparation and submission of Lasting Powers of Attorney. We will advise on the implications of the same and explain how you can incorporate guidance or instructions for your Attorneys in your LPA.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document, under which you (the Donor) can appoint an individual or individuals (Attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf. An LPA gives you the control to choose people that you trust to make decisions for you, if you are no longer able to make these decisions owing to accident or illness, or in the case of your finances, you no longer wish to make your own decisions.
To make an LPA, you must be over the age of 18 and have the ability to make your own decisions (mental capacity) when you make the LPA. Mental capacity means the ability to make or communicate specific decisions, at the time they need to be made and to understand the decision you need to make, why you need to make it and the likely outcome of your decision.
There are two types of LPA and you can choose to make one or both:
- Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
- Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
Property and Finance
This LPA gives your chosen person (Attorney) the power and authority to make decisions about your money and property for you.
- Managing your bank accounts, investments, savings or any other financial affairs
- Paying bills
- Collecting benefits or a pension
- Buying and selling property on your behalf
Your attorney must keep accounts and make sure your money is kept separate from theirs. You can ask for regular details of how much is spent and how much money you have. This offers an extra layer of protection.
The Property and Finance LPA can be used as soon as it is registered, with your permission, which means it can be used by your Attorneys whilst you have metal capacity as well as if you do not.
Health and Welfare
This LPA gives your chosen person (Attorney) the power and authority to make decisions on your behalf regarding your personal health, care and welfare but can only be used if you have lost mental capacity.
Your Attorney will be able to decide such matters as:
- Your medical care
- Your daily routine such as washing, dressing and eating
- Who you should have contact with or social activities you should take part in
- Where you should live i.e. a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment – if you wish your Attorneys to be able to make decisions about this. Otherwise, decisions about life sustaining treatment will be made by the doctors treating you
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used when you are unable to make your own decisions (you lack mental capacity).
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA)
You may have taken out an EPA some years ago, which now needs to be registered for use at the Office of the Public Guardian. You can only use your EPA if it was made correctly; we can check this for you and assist you with its registration. Only EPAs made and signed before October 1, 2007 can still be used. The LPA has since replaced the EPA.
General Powers of Attorney (GPA)
There may be circumstances when you just need a general or specific power of attorney. A GPA is a legal document that authorises another person to manage your legal and financial affairs on your behalf. They are usually needed for a short or specific period of time and can only be used with regards to your property or financial affairs, for example you may be out of the country when a document needs signing. We can provide advice and assistance regarding these.
For more information, please contact Gina Leighton-Jones