A Lasting powers of attorney (LPA) is a legal tool that gives another adult or adults the legal authority to make certain decisions for someone, if they become unable to make them themselves.
To ensure your wishes are carried out, and that important decisions are placed in the hands of those you trust, making a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is vital. There are two types of LPA, Property and Financial Affairs, in which you can appoint attorneys to look after your financial affairs, and a Health and Welfare LPA, in which you can nominate attorneys to look after your social and health care needs, and make life sustaining treatment options.
Property and affairs LPA
A property and affairs LPA covers decisions about your finances and property. If there comes a time when you are no longer able to manage your finances, to include paying your bills, collecting your income, or even selling your house; the person or persons you appoint as your attorney will be able do this for you. However, if you want to, you can limit the decisions they are allowed to make, or place conditions on what they can do.
Once registered, a property and affairs LPA can be used even if you are still able to deal with these things yourself, for example if you are self isolating.
Health and welfare LPA
A health and welfare LPA allows the attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your health and welfare, if there comes a time when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. A health and welfare attorney could make decisions about where you live. For example if you needed to go into residential care, or your day-to-day care arrangements.
You can also give your health and welfare attorney the power to make decisions on life sustaining treatment
As with a property and affairs LPA, a health and welfare LPA can only be used once it has been registered at the OPG. However, it cannot be used while you still have the mental capacity to make decisions about your own welfare or treatment.
It is anticipated that the current crisis may have an impact on the time the Office of the Public Guardian takes to register the documents. The sooner arrangements are put in place, the better.
If left too late, loved ones may need to go through the Court of Protection to enable them to handle your finances, which can be a long and expensive procedure. The Court of Protection only make orders relating to health and welfare issues in very limited circumstances.