Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Abbie Kingdon

A Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, is a very important legal mechanism that allows you to plan for the future.

If you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself, the law says that you have lost your mental capacity. The loss of capacity not only affects the elderly who typically lose capacity through dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but can also affect younger people, if they are involved in an accident or if they are damaged by illness. 

LPAs should therefore be considered by everyone, not just people who are getting older.

An LPA is a legal document, typically drawn up by a solicitor, which appoints someone else (known as your attorney) to deal with your affairs in the event that you are no longer capable of doing so yourself.

There are two types of LPA:

  • one covering property and financial decisions; and
  • one covering health and welfare decisions.

If a person becomes mentally incapable and does not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, family or friends would need to make a Court application for an Order allowing them to make decisions on your behalf. The process of applying to Court is far more expensive and time consuming than prearing an LPA, and it is often very stressful for those involved.

By making an LPA before anything untoward happens to you, you are able to choose who makes important decisions on your behalf, and also have some input as to those decisions should be. These decisions may cover a wide variety of issues, such as:

  • a continued wish to donate to charities you support;
  • not to sell your home unless you are no longer able to live independently;
  • whether you should receive particular medication or life sustaining treatment; or
  • a wish not to be kept in a vegetative state.

You are able to choose up to four attorneys to act on your behalf and are also able to appoint replacement attorneys to step in if one or all of your attorneys are no longer able to act. Your chosen attorney should be someone you trust and someone who would make decisions in your best interests.

If you or a loved one would like further information on LPAs or would like to put one in place then please do not hesitate to contact one of our private client team who will be happy to assist.