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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A lasting power of attorney (also known as an "LPA") is a document that enables you to appoint one or more people (known as your “attorney”) to manage your affairs in the event that you are no longer able to do so yourself. This might be because you have suffered a stroke, or because you develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 

There are two main types of powers of attorney which you can have drawn up, which relate to:

  • your property and finances; and
  • your health and personal welfare.


Why is a Power of Attorney important?

Preparing a power of attorney is an important aspect of putting your affairs in order. Having a power of attorney in place reduces the burden on your loved ones and ensures that in the event of the unexpected happening, your affairs will be administered by someone you trust, in the way that you would prefer. 

Advances in medical science mean more and more people are considering what they would like to happen at the end of their lives. If you have a degenerative or terminal illness, you may be considering what treatments you would (or would not) like to receive and to put advance decisions in place relating to life sustaining treatment. This can all be dealt with in a power of attorney.


How Does a Power of Attorney Work?

The attorneys you have appointed would have the power to make decisions about you, in accordance with your wishes. This would be in relation to your property and finances, or your health and personal welfare (or both) depending on the type of power of attorney you have in place. 

You can talk to your attorneys about the medical treatment you would like to receive (or not), or you can write to them setting out what you want. You can give your attorneys authority to deal with the bank accounts, bills and other financial details, if you no longer want to, of if you are no longer capable. 


What Happens If I Don't Have a Power of Attorney?

Where a person is no longer able to manage his or her property and finances and does not have a power of attorney in place it is usually necessary to apply to a specialist court known as “the Court of Protection” for an order enabling a family member or close friend to manage that person’s finances on his/her behalf. This process can prove complex and time consuming.

We can advise and assist you on all aspects of Court of Protection applications.

If you have a friend or relative who is already unable to manage their own affairs, and they do not have a power of attorney in place, other help is available. We can assist you in obtaining a deputyship order, which will mean you can give the same sort of assistance, as if there were a power of attorney in place. 


How Do I Get a Power of Attorney Set Up?

If you or a loved one needs a power of attorney, we can help. We will always let you have a quote for a fixed fee for the work that needs to be done, before any fees are incurred.

Contact one of our specialist team at our well-respected firm of Barnstaple solicitors, for a free no obligation discussion about powers of attorney, advanced decision making and Court of Protection queries.

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