A Brief Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney

LPAs, or Lasting Powers of Attorney, replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney in 2007. This change in the legal exchange of responsibilities can seem a little confusing and has led to a few minor changes to the way in which you legally sort out the care of your health and your finances when you are unwell.

The keys to understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney are responsivity and choice. You are never obligated to file LPAs and should never feel pressured into using a certain firm of solicitors. This is your decision-making power that you are arranging for, and you should primarily think of yourself when you hand it over. What will be the best for you and your family?

With that in mind, here are a few titbits of knowledge that will hopefully help demystify this process for you. Don’t take this article as the be all and end all – seek advice from loved ones, doctors and charities like Age UK when making any decisions about your legal powers.

The Two Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney

There are two types of legally binding LPA in the UK:

LPA for financial decisions – This is for power over your finances and property. You can opt for this to kick in whilst you still have mental capacity, or for when you are deemed to have lost it. Attorneys have strict rules over how they can use your finances in line with your will, and must keep money separate from their own and accounted for.

LPA for health and care decisions – This kind of LPA determines who is accountable for your healthcare. Unlike the LPA for financial decisions, this will only kick in once you no longer have mental capacity.

Mental Capacity Is Important

LPAs are essentially about agency. If you feel like you may lose your mental capacity for agency in the near future, that is when you should begin the process.

However, it isn’t as simple as just notifying people as to when you think your capacity will change. Consult your doctor before filling out any forms. If you fill out your forms and then lose your capacity before being able to register them, a doctor will be able to make assessments and help you with the process.

 

Accept Help When Filling Out Your Forms

Accepting help is the key reason why you might be filling out LPA forms in the first place. Despite this, it is staggering how many people decide to go it alone or feel pressured by outside forces when doing so. When filling out an LPA form, you may be at the most vulnerable point in your life to date. It is important to seek counsel when agreeing to give away any power.

Luckily, there are many organizations that exist with the specific function of helping elderly or disabled people. Charities such as Age UK have the staff and facilities to offer really useful and impartial advice. They also keep a keen eye out for areas in which people’s vulnerabilities are being exploited.

No matter what your situation or how many people you have around you, contacting a group like Age UK is useful. They can help make complex legal decisions far simpler and have specialist advisors that have dealt with countless cases in the past. They are charities, and always offer their services for free.

 

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