A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you to appoint somebody else, or more than one person (the attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf regarding property and affairs or your Health and Welfare. These are two separate documents so you can have either one or both types of LPA. A LPA is usually used if you lose the ability to make your own decisions (capacity). However an LPA can be used, with your permission, even if you can make your own decisions. This means that if you are having a long stay in hospital you can appoint an attorney to deal with your affairs on a temporary basis.
A Heath and Welfare LPA allows you to appoint an attorney or attorneys to make decisions about your Health and Welfare if you are unable to make the decisions yourself. The decisions can include life sustaining treatment, care regime and diet. Specific permission needs to be given in respect of life sustaining treatment. An attorney can only act under a Health & Welfare LPA if you lose the ability to make your own decisions and the form has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
One of the main advantages of an LPA is that it is prepared while you still have capacity so you can decide who you want to be your attorney or attorneys. You can also put restrictions on the LPA clarifying or limiting the attorney’s powers to act. This means that you can plan ahead for a time when you may be unable to deal with your affairs. Your attorney is also answerable to the Office of the Public Guardian and can be prosecuted if they do not act in your best interests
If the worse should happen and you find you lack capacity either due to dementia, an accident or medical complication it is much easier for your attorneys to act quickly if an LPA has been done. If there is no LPA any potential attorney will need to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy. This can be quite a long winded process, it is expensive and you will not have any control over who your Deputy is. In respect of a Health and Welfare LPA it is reassuring to know that if a decision has to be made and you cannot provide consent the parameters of any decisions an attorney can make has already been clearly considered at a time when you can carefully decide what powers you wish to give an attorney.
Katie Pendower Fentons Solicitors part of Slater & Gordon Telephone number 0844 854 3198