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Home Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Whilst a will deals with property after death, have you ever thought about who would manage your financial affairs if you became physically or mentally incapable of doing so either through old age, illness or accident?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be drawn up to provide authority to your nominated attorney(s) to cover the management of financial affairs (called a Property & Financial Affairs LPA) and a second LPA (called a Personal Welfare LPA) to cover the management of personal matters such as medical care should you be unable to do so yourself. Unlike in Scotland, a single document to cover both aspects is not allowed.

It is often assumed that the spouse would be entitled to act automatically, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Rather like a will you need to have full mental capacity to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney, and as such cannot make one when it is really needed. Without one requires an application to be made to the Office of the Public Guardian and this process is intrusive, expensive and burdensome and requires the payment of ongoing fees. It could also result in someone you may not have chosen managing your financial affairs.

Whilst an LPA is a very powerful document, there are numerous safeguards to prevent its abuse. Before the document can be used, certain people (including you), who you elect when drafting the LPA, have to be notified and anyone can object if they are not happy with the reasons why the document is being brought into effect.

You can include restrictions on what the people you appoint can and cannot do under the authority of the document - and you can include advice or guidance on how you would like them to act. A common restriction is to postpone the authority until such time that you are unable to manage your own affairs – though powers to act may be given immediately if you wish.

When the LPA is signed, a certificate must be completed by a professional or someone who has known the person making the document for at least two years to confirm that they understand the meaning of the LPA and the consequences of it.

Like your will, an LPA can be updated or cancelled at any time should your circumstances change.

Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA)

It is no longer possible to create an EPA, but any documents created prior to 1st October 2007 continue to be legally valid, provided all parties (including the attorneys) signed the document on or before 30th September 2007





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