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Planning for the Future - The importance of making a Lasting Power of Attorney

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A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is an important legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself in the future. An LPA enables you to plan ahead and protect yourself, ensuring decisions are made in accordance with your wishes.

There are two types of LPAs – one relating to property and financial affairs, and one relating to health and welfare.

Healthcare and Personal Care Attorney

Whilst it is more usual to appoint a financial Attorney to manage your finances, health and welfare Attorney Deeds are becoming increasingly popular. It is also important to note that healthcare professionals can decline to consult or take instructions from loved ones without an LPA in place in certain situations.

You can provide directions and guidance for your attorney in relation to certain treatments, such as what should happen if you suffer a heart attack or stroke, whether you should receive a blood transfusion and what medication you would like to receive in those situations. 

You can also give your healthcare attorney power to refuse certain treatments for you.

A healthcare attorney can only make decisions for you when you no longer have capacity to make decisions for yourself. These decisions are important and might include choosing your care home and whether you should receive life-sustaining treatment.

What might happen if I decide not to make a lasting power of attorney?

If you have not made an advance decision then healthcare professionals would need to make a decision that is thought to be in your best interests. They may consult your partner, close family or anyone else they know plays an important part in your life, however this can be problematic, for example in situations where there is a difference in opinion between the people consulted. It is possible for the court to appoint a deputy to act on your behalf but this is not usual in relation to healthcare or welfare decisions.

Property and Financial Affairs Attorney

Your property and financial affairs Attorney can make various decisions for you in relation to day to day routine such as the payment of bills, liaising with providers in relation to finances and selling your home.

This type of lasting power can be used as soon as it has been registered as long as you are happy for your attorney to act. You can continue to manage your finances alongside your attorneys should you still have capacity. This might be helpful in situations where you have physical difficulties getting to your bank for example. If you do lose capacity then the attorneys can continue to act on your behalf without the need to consult you. They must act in your best interests.

It is important to remember that an attorney under a finance and property lasting power of attorney cannot make decisions about your healthcare or personal care and a healthcare and welfare attorney cannot make decisions about your finances. This is why it is essential to consider making both applications.

What might happen if I decide not to make a lasting power of attorney?

If you do not have an LPA in place in relation to your finances then an application can be made in person to the Court of Protection for someone to be appointed as your deputy. However the process is complex and can take at least 4-6 months to complete. There is also no guarantee of success with the application.

If your loved one no longer has capacity to appoint an attorney then we can also assist with the Court of Protection application.

LPAs are important in ensuring that you are protecting yourself for the future and making sure the right people - who you can trust – will be able to make important decisions on your behalf in a situation where you no longer have capacity.

How to make a lasting power of attorney

You will need to be over 18 and have capacity to appoint an attorney. You can appoint the same attorney (or attorneys) in relation to both applications (health and welfare, and property and finances).

How we can help

We can help you to fill out the forms and will provide advice and guidance throughout.

We can also assist with acting as your certificate provider to confirm you have capacity to appoint an attorney and they can also notify people you have specified (if any) to let them know that you are registering your lasting power of attorney deed.  

Nina Sperring of FDR Law says, “Our highly experienced Private Client Team at FDR Law understand the importance of LPAs and can provide thorough guidance in relation to both applications, including in relation to complex assets, trust accounts and personal care. We are also able to act as an attorney should you wish to appoint a professional.”

If you would like to make an LPA in relation to either health and welfare or property and financial affairs (or both) then please be in touch on 01925 230 000 and someone within our Private Client team would be happy to help.