Lasting Power of Attorney

Whether it’s due to old age or illness, we are more likely to become unable to manage our own finances and make important life decisions as we become older, but there is a way of appointing someone to do those things on your behalf.

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A lasting power of attorney (LPA) gives you the option of choosing a representative – whether it be a professional solicitor or a family member – to make these decisions for you, if you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself. 

Here at Unite Wills, our friendly advisors are on-hand to help you with the process of getting a lasting power of attorney – simply include that you would like to use our service during your application. 

 

What is lasting power of attorney?

When someone has the power of attorney, they essentially have the legal right to make decisions on your behalf, regarding things like finances, organising healthcare, and so on. 

Lasting power of attorney is a legal document that enables you – the ‘donor’ – to name one or more individuals as attorneys to make, or at least help you with, important life decisions. 

The main reason people get an LPA is to maintain an element of control over the decisions that have a considerable impact on their lives, by having a representative that prioritises their best interests if ever they are mentally unable to deal with their own day-to-day issues.

 

Who can be an attorney? 

Due to the vast responsibilities that come with the role, you should take your time when deciding who to choose as an attorney. 

Attorneys must be over 18 years old, but there aren’t many other requirements. Many people opt for friends, family members, or professional solicitors as attorneys. When you ask someone to be your attorney, they must – of course – agree to the responsibilities, and it’s important that you only ask them if you believe that they would be happy to do so. 

The best attorney for you depends on your personal situation, but here at Unite Wills we are happy to advise you on all the options available.

 

Can I make a lasting power of attorney?

The only requirements of being able to make a lasting power of attorney are that you: 

Creating an LPA while you are still able to make your own decisions means that you will have a plan in place for later down the line, when you are older and perhaps less capable of making difficult life choices.

 

Types of lasting power of attorney

An LPA can be permanent or temporary, and there are two primary types:  

You are able to choose both or just one of the above in England and Wales, but if you aren’t entirely sure, our advisors are on hand to help talk you through your options. 

A Health and Welfare lasting power of attorney allows the attorney to make decisions for the donor regarding their daily life, such as every-day routines like what they eat, cleaning the house, and so on. It also gives them the right to make healthcare decisions, including whether they need to move into a care home, or even more sensitive subjects relating to life-sustaining treatment, and so on. 

Unlike the Health and Welfare LPA, a Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be enforced as soon as it is signed as long as you agree to it – even if you are still of sound mind. It gives the attorney the right to make decisions about the donor’s finances and property, as the name suggests, including your bills, pensions, loan payments, benefits, and so on.

 

Setting up a lasting power of attorney

The first step of the process is to choose your attorney, which isn’t a decision you should make lightly. It can be anyone over the age of 18, including relatives, friends, or professional solicitors, but you should consider the following before approaching them:

Donors are able to choose more than one attorney and can decide whether they make the decisions ‘jointly’ or ‘jointly and severally’. What does this mean? Well, when decisions must be ‘jointly’, all attorneys must agree unanimously on all decisions. 

Alternatively, when decisions are made on a ‘jointly and severally’ basis, the attorneys are able to make decisions both by themselves and with the other attorneys – there is no need for a unanimous agreement. 

Choosing your attorney(s) is probably the most time-consuming part of the process, and once it’s complete, we will be able to begin the next step of the process which involves quite a bit of legal paperwork. Once the forms and documents are signed, we will them help you register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian, as is required in order to make the agreement legally binding.

To begin your LPA, or to explore your options, simply complete our short contact form and we will be in touch. 

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