WHO WOULD LOOK AFTER YOUR AFFAIRS?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are extremely useful documents which allow you to appoint people you trust to act as your attorney(s) should you need help and assistance in the future.
Loss of capacity may develop gradually or it may strike suddenly, creating problems in dealing with someone’s affairs unless they have thought ahead and put a relatively simple legal arrangement in place.
There are two types of LPA – (1) property and financial affairs and (2) health and welfare.
Their remit is self-explanatory, and while clients are often concerned primarily about their property and financial affairs, in allowing someone access to manage their money when needed, the health and welfare LPA should not be overlooked.
The health and welfare LPA covers situations including moving into a care home, your daily routine (for example dietary requirements, washing and dressing), medical care and life-sustaining treatment.
In the document you will be asked to name the people you would like to be responsible for your health and welfare when you are unable to look after these needs yourself; you can also include replacement attorneys if necessary. It most often covers situations involving dementia but covers all situations involving a loss of capacity, including when that loss is sudden – for example due to a stroke.
You can decide in the document whether you would like to give your attorneys authority to permit or refuse life-sustaining treatment. In the document this is defined as care, surgery, medicine or other help from doctors that is needed to keep you alive. This is often important to our clients, especially those with strong beliefs regarding resuscitation.
Your attorneys need to confirm in the document that they will always act in your best interests and safeguards are in place including the reporting of abuse to Office of the Public Guardian.
LPAs are often compared to insurance policies, no-one wants to have to use them, but if they are needed can be invaluable. Without an LPA in place, if a person loses capacity a deputyship order becomes the alternative. These applications made to the Court of Protection take longer, cost more and multiple applications may be required during the lifespan of the order.
If you need more information about LPAs or any other issues involving wills, estate planning, probate or deputyship, please contact a member of the team who will be pleased to assist you.