Lasting Powers of Attorney
If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you may have assumed that your spouse would automatically be able to deal with your bank accounts and pensions, and make decisions about your healthcare, if you lose the ability to do so. This is not the case. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), they won’t have the authority.
If you are widowed or single who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to? Again, if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney you can choose someone and appoint them to make those decisions for you.
An LPA is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf, if either you’re unable to do so at some time in the future or you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself. This person is known as your attorney.
There are two types of LPA: an LPA for financial decisions and an LPA for health and care decisions.
LPA for health and care decisions
Your attorney can only use this when you no longer have mental capacity. It covers health and care decisions. An attorney can generally make decisions about things such as:
- where you should live
- your medical care
- what you should eat
- who you should have contact with
- what kind of social activities you should take part in.
You can also give special permission for your attorney to make decisions about life-saving treatment.
If you lose mental capacity and you don’t have an LPA for health and care decisions in place, any decisions about your healthcare will be made by doctors.
LPA for property & financial decisions
Your attorney can use an LPA for financial decisions while you still have mental capacity but only with your consent. Or you can state in your LPA application that you only want it to come into force if you lose capacity. If you have an LPA for financial decisions your attorney can generally make decisions on things such as:
- selling your home
- paying the mortgage
- investing money
- paying bills
- arranging repairs to property.
You can restrict the types of decisions your attorney can make, or let them make all decisions on your behalf. If you’re setting up an LPA for financial decisions, your attorney must keep accounts and make sure their own money is kept separate from yours. You can ask for regular details of how much is spent and how much money you have. This offers you an extra layer of protection. You can also request that these details are sent to your solicitor or a family member if you lose mental capacity.
If you lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA for financial decisions in place, your family or friends will not be able to make decisions on your behalf regarding your finances. In this situation the Court of Protection would need to get involved and this is very expensive and the Court will appoint a Deputy to act on your behalf who will not be your spouse or family member.