Lasting Powers of Attorney
What is a Lasting Power Of Attorney?
If you’re in good health and of sound mind, it’s hard to imagine a time in your life when you will no longer be able to manage your own affairs. But at some point in the future, illness, disability or mental impairment may stop you from handling even a bank account.
If you lose your mental capacity and haven’t arranged for anyone to act for you, your assets will in effect be frozen (and this includes joint held bank accounts).
Your family will then have to make an application to the Office of the Public Guardian (which holds your funds in the meantime) to be appointed as deputies to handle your affairs – often a lengthy and costly procedure.
A far better option is to choose a friend, relative or professional as an attorney. This is someone you choose (while you still have the mental capacity) to make decisions about your finances. Should it become necessary, he or she will hold a “Lasting Power of Attorney” on your behalf.
Liberty Legal Services can draft your LPA’s, register them with the Office of the Public Guardian and if required store them for you.
Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
If some day you become incapable of looking after your own personal welfare (i.e. your health care and social needs), a Welfare Power of Attorney will ensure that these needs are taken care of by the attorney(s) you appoint. Your welfare attorney will have the legal authority to act for you, but only when one or more doctors have certified that you no longer have the capacity to do so yourself. This means that you must draw up a Welfare Power of Attorney while you are still capable of understanding what you are doing.
No one, not even close relatives, can arrange a power of attorney for you.
Without a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney, the above decisions may be made by Social Services, the courts, a person appointed by the courts.
Choices may be made that you that you or your family would NOT have wished.
If the family have to go to court to get disputes resolved this can be expensive, time-consuming, and demeaning.
It’s much better to be certain and to have named in advance trusted family members to make decisions on your behalf.