We all know that writing a Will is important, but too few of us recognise that we should also consider something called a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA.) LPAs give another individual the legal authority to look after specific aspects of your affairs. There are two types of LPA:
1. Health and Welfare- This allows you to choose a person (or persons) to make decisions about things like your daily routine and medical care.
2. Property and Financial Affairs- This allows you to choose a person (or persons) to make decisions about money and property such as paying bills or selling your home.
Why should I make an LPA?
As people may become incapacitated through accident or illness, we would recommend putting in place an LPA at the earliest opportunity. If you do not have an LPA and later become mentally incapacitated, relatives may face delays and expense applying to the Court of Protection to take control of your finances.
For an LPA to be effective, it must be registered with The Office of Public Guardian. Your Attorneys can only act on your behalf once the LPA has been registered. If it is a Health and Welfare LPA, then they can only act once the LPA has been registered and you have lost mental capacity.
I have already made an Enduring Power of Attorney- do I need to make an LPA?
EPAs were replaced by LPAs in 2007. If you have already made an EPA, it is still valid, but does not allow your Attorneys to make decisions about your health and welfare. You may therefore wish to consider putting an LPA in place for Health and Welfare.