Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows someone to act on your behalf or make decisions for you if you’re no longer able to or no longer want to do so on your own. The person (or people) that you choose is referred to as your “attorney”, and you determine the decisions they are allowed to make for you (the “donor”).
There are two types of LPA. One type covers decisions about your health and welfare, and the other covers decisions about your property and finances. You can choose to use both types or just one. You are able to appoint the same attorney for each or you can opt for different attorneys. An LPA must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to be valid.
There’s a lot to consider when looking into LPAs. This guide to Lasting Power of Attorney will examine the two types of LPAs so you are able to plan effectively.
Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions regarding your health and welfare on your behalf. There may come a time when you do not have the mental capacity to make important decisions for yourself. This could be the result of an accident, illness, or old age. With a Health and Welfare LPA, your attorney can make decisions about medical care and your daily routine. Here are some of the decisions your Health and Welfare attorney can make:
- Where to live and whom to live with.
- Who may visit and who may not.
- What to buy and where to shop.
- What clothes to wear.
- Running the home, choosing decoration and furniture.
- Treatment and welfare care.
- Decisions regarding terminal illness treatment and care.
- Determining where the donor may like to die and making funeral arrangements.
You are also able to give your health and welfare attorney the power to refuse or accept life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. The required paperwork will ask if you wish to provide this power or not and you’ll need to clearly state your intention.
It’s important to understand that this decision can affect any advance decision you have previously made. If you give your attorney the power to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment, it will overrule your advance decision. However, if you choose not to give your attorney this power, your advance decision will stand.
A Health and Welfare LPA can only be used when you don’t have the mental capacity to make decisions on your own. Without it in place, no one will have the legal authority to make decisions for you. This can result in you being cared for in a way that you would not have wanted, as the ability to make decisions is not in your loved ones’ hands.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers decisions about your property and finances. If a time comes where you can no longer manage your finances, you can grant an attorney the power to do it for you. Here are some of the decisions your Property and Financial Affairs attorney can make on your behalf:
- Paying bills, including your rent, mortgage, or other household expenses.
- Opening, operating, or closing any bank or other financial accounts.
- Handling your tax affairs.
- Receiving any income, inheritance, or other entitlement on your behalf.
- Insuring, maintaining, and repairing your property.
- Deciding whether to buy or sell a home.
- Investing your savings into stocks, mutual funds, or other financial instruments.
- Making limited gifts on your behalf.
- Paying for private medical and residential care or nursing home fees.
With a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, you get to choose when you want your attorney to be able to act. This could be the moment the LPA is registered or at some point in the future, such as any situation where you’re no longer able to make these decisions for yourself. You are also able to limit the decisions the attorney is allowed to make or place conditions on what they are able to do.
A big difference between a Health and Welfare LPA and a Property and Financial Affairs LPA is that with the latter, you can appoint an attorney to manage your affairs at any time, not just when you are no longer able to decide for yourself.
Let’s consider a situation where this might be useful. If you have assets in England and Wales but are planning to leave the country for an extended period of time, you may want someone still in the country to manage your financial affairs while you’re away. Another example is those with mobility issues: While you may still have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself, it would be more practical to allow someone you trust the authority to handle certain tasks for you.
The best way to protect your future is by planning today. By making a Lasting Power of Attorney for finance and health you are ensuring that your affairs are handled by someone you trust. Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors wants to help you prepare for the future with our friendly and client-driven approach. Contact us today to learn more about our Lasting Power of Attorney services.