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Lasting Power of Attorney

An LPA is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf

Wills, Trusts and tax planning

What is an LPA?

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else, your attorney, the right to manage your financial affairs and/or make decisions about your health and welfare.

It is usually made when someone wants to deal with the risk that they could become incapacitated by age or illness and wants to know who will deal with matters for them.

An LPA must be made while someone still has the mental capacity to do so.  Therefore, it is not something to be left to be dealt with after someone loses that capacity.

If someone loses their mental capacity to make decisions and they have not made an LPA before doing so, then the Court of Protection can appoint a deputy.  That can be a family member, as with an LPA but it is often a more protracted and expensive process.

What you need to decide

If you want to grant a power of attorney to someone you need to decide a number of important things

Is it going to apply to just your finances or to your health and welfare so that for example your attorney can make decisions about medical treatment?

Who will be your attorney?  Often people chose family members.  They have to agree to become attorneys. You can choose a professional attorney such as a solicitor, but they will charge fees for managing your affairs if you do.

You can choose more than one attorney, but you then have to decide whether they have to make decisions together or can do so independently.

You also have to decide whether your attorney can start acting when you still have capacity or whether they can only take decisions if you have lost capacity.

Do you need a Solicitor?

You do not need a solicitor to create the power of attorney, because there is a specific form that needs to be filled in and submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian and you do not have to be a solicitor to do that.  However, a power of attorney is a very important document which gives someone power over someone else’s life, so it is vital to make sure that it is correct and accurately puts into effect what everyone wants to happen.  So many people chose to instruct a solicitor to advise them on this.