Lasting Power of Attorney isn’t often spoken about, but these documents are incredibly important!
What’s Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) though?
LPAs are documents that a person can put in place to ensure that their finances and health needs, can still be managed by trusted people, should that person not be able to manage these anymore. That means during their lifetime and after death.
To this end it there are two types of LPAs you can put in place Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs and Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare.
But, how do you give and what are the forms for lasting power of attorney, how do they work and what are the benefits of having them. We’re here to guide you through it and with the experts, we work with at Honey we can help you start these documents to give you peace of mind.
Giving Lasting Powers of Attorney
As we’ve already said, Lasting Powers of Attorney are documents that appoint others to act on behalf of you.
It is important to note that a person can only set up LPA documents if they have the necessary mental capacity to do so.
Attorneys are the people you choose to act for you on your behalf when you can no longer do it.
There must be at least one attorney within your forms for Lasting Power of Attorney and you may wish to appoint more than one. However, bear in mind that too many attorneys could make things difficult as they’ll need to work together when the time comes.
In that case, you should take the time to consider who you want to appoint. They must also be 18 years old and mentally capable. They should further not be the subject of a debt relief order, bankruptcy or IVA if you are appointing them for a property and financial LPA.
An attorney cannot act if they:
- Lose mental capacity.
- Decide they no longer want to act as an attorney (known as ‘disclaiming their appointment’)
- Become bankrupt or subject to a debt relief order and were an attorney for a financial LPA.
- Were a wife, husband or civil partner but the relationship has legally ended – unless you write instructions that they can continue to be an attorney if the relationship legally ends?
You should also think about:
- How many attorneys you want to appoint and if they’ll be able to work together.
- Whether you trust them to act in your best interests
- How well you and the attorney know each other and how well you understand each other
- How willing they’ll be to make decisions for you.
- How well they organise their own affairs, such as how well they look after their own money.
Once you know who you would like your attorneys to be you can complete the relevant forms for lasting power of attorney such as the ones within Honey’s packages. Once they’ve been completed they need to be witnessed and registered.
An LPA cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). This can take up to 8 weeks.
NB: There is a legal four-week wait before OPG can register an LPA. This gives any people to notify a chance to object.
Once your documents are registered though they are ready to use when you need them.
How do they work?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney and have quite self-explanatory uses and what areas of decisions they cover.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs
This grants the appointed attorneys the power to make decisions, and act, on behalf of you that are relevant to your property and financial affairs.
This means the appointed person could:
- Open and close your bank and building society accounts
- Pay your household, care and other bills
- Claim, receive and use your benefits, pensions and allowances
- Make or sell investments
- Buy or sell your home
A Property and Financial LPA is important because:
- Without it, your bank accounts can be frozen, and bills could potentially be left unpaid for months.
- Anyone managing the affairs of an incapable person without an LPA (even if prior authorisation has been given) is committing a criminal offence.
- Assets could otherwise be placed under the control of the Court of Protection.
- No one can claim state benefits that you may be entitled to or collect your pension on your behalf.
- If you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place it can cost time and thousands of pounds for your family to get permission to handle your affairs.
Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare
This gives the appointed the power to make decisions, and act, on behalf of you that is relevant to your Health and Welfare needs.
Whilst you have mental capacity and are still conscious, all health and welfare decisions will still be made by you. It will only become effective and usable after registration if you have either lost mental capacity through an abnormality of mental functioning, or you have lost consciousness through a coma for example.
This means the appointed could:
- Instruct medical professionals what tests/treatments not to perform depending on your religion, beliefs and allergies.
- Decide which residential care home you live in or if you are cared for at home
- Discuss care plans with doctors and social services
- Decide on life-sustaining treatment
A Health and Welfare LPA is important because:
- Without it, Social Services or the Court of Protection will decide which home you will go into.
- Family members can have the right to make decisions if you were in a coma or otherwise incapable.
- It can record your preferences and instructions i.e. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not receive blood transfusions, Muslims do not eat pork or non-halal meat, or when a person would like to be ‘let go’ or kept on life support. Without this LPA medical professionals can’t consider any of these.
- Without it, Social Services won’t take into account what is best for the family, only what is best for the individual in their opinion. Meaning they may deem a care home is cheaper than care at home.
- Again, if you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place it can cost time and thousands of pounds for your family to get permission to handle your affairs.
What are the benefits?
Still wondering “is lasting power of attorney a good idea?”
Here’s what we think:
Benefits of Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs
Your bank accounts and joint accounts will remain operational. Bills and other regular important payments can continue to be paid. The only legal way of someone else managing your affairs. You will still be able to receive pensions, dividends, and benefits.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is the cheapest and quickest way of ensuring your assets aren’t frozen should you lose mental capacity.
Benefits of Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare Decisions
Religion, beliefs, and allergies will be considered and followed in your healthcare. Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare Decisions provides the invaluable opportunity to inform your most trusted people, what types of healthcare you would consent to, and what you would not consent to.
Should you need residential care, those who you trust most will be able to decide which home you go to, instead of it being up to Social Services, or indeed if it’s in your best interests to stay at home.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare Decisions provides for decisions relating to your health and welfare, whereas the old style Enduring Powers of Attorney does not. It is the cheapest and quickest way to ensure your preferences in what care you receive will be followed.
Ensuring your preferences are instructions are carried out by trusted people at a time when you cannot carry them out yourself is important. You are important. Lasting Power of Attorney helps give you peace of mind that your best interests and wishes will always be at the heart of decisions.
We’ve teamed up with Honey to provide you with a simple, comprehensible and client focussed platform to complete your Lasting Power of Attorney forms stress-free. We also provide guidance along the way.
The bonus is they come in affordable packages too.