A Lasting Power of Attorney allows someone to make decisions on your behalf, should there come a time when you lack mental capacity to do so yourself.
These decisions could be about everyday things like what to wear or when to pay a bill, or more important decisions like making investments and deciding where to live.
Someone can lack mental capacity because of an injury or condition, such as a car accident, stroke or, more commonly, dementia. Some people may have capacity to make decisions about some things but not others, or their capacity to make decisions may change from day to day.
If you lose your capacity to make these decisions for yourself, it can create a very difficult and distressing situation for you and your family. To avoid this, you can set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), while you have mental capacity, to give someone (or more than one person) the authority to make decisions on your behalf. This person is known as an attorney, while the person who makes the LPA is called the donor.
There are two types of LPA:
- A Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers decisions about the donor’s property and money.
- A Personal Welfare LPA covers decisions about the donor’s healthcare and personal welfare.
Here at Geoffrey Lurie Solicitors in Newcastle, we have the expertise and understanding to advise our clients about the benefits of having an LPA, and assisting them in creating a document tailored to their individual needs.on the correct nature of this delegated authority. The role of attorney involves a great deal of power and responsibility, and you must be able to trust your attorney(s) to make decisions in your best interests. It is therefore incredibly important that you think carefully not only about who you appoint, but how you appoint them, the powers that you want them to have. As part of our service we will discuss these decisions with you in detail to ensure that the final document is right for you.
We are also able to assist in registering both Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) are the predecessor of the current Lasting Power of Attorney, but could only be made in relation to a donor’s financial affairs. Whilst it is no longer possible to make an EPA, those created before the change in the law remain valid. The rules for when EPAs need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian are however different to the rules for LPAs, and it is therefore important for attorneys acting under an EPA to be aware of the circumstances when they have a duty to register the document, and to act accordingly.
It is also possible set up an Ordinary Power of Attorney. This gives someone else the power to handle your financial affairs for you but is only valid while you have mental capacity to make decisions about your finances. Ordinary Powers of Attorney can be useful in certain situations e.g. extended trips abroad.
Where someone loses their capacity without having made an LPA or EPA, it is often necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. At Geoffrey Lurie Solicitors we understand that this can be an extremely stressful time for all concerned. Our team will provide the support and expertise required to guide you through the process and, if necessary, continue to assist you once an Order has been made.