Whilst many people think about making a Will to put their affairs in order after they die, a report published by Solicitors for the Elderly has highlighted that increasing numbers of people in the UK are likely to develop Dementia, and that a potential crisis is developing as millions of people are failing to take adequate steps to prepare for a possible loss of the ability to handle their own affairs in the future.
The report recommends the use of Lasting Power of Attorneys or ‘LPAs’ to prepare for such circumstances.
What Is A Lasting Power Of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you appoint people to be your attorney (or attorneys) either to help you make or to make decisions of your behalf. An LPA therefore give you the ability to choose who you trust to make these decisions for you in the event that you lose the ability to do so yourself, due to accident, injury or ill health, or where you are still able to make these decisions but would prefer for your attorneys to help you.
What Types Of LPA Are There?
There are 2 types of LPA each with their own form to complete.
- The first type is for Property and Financial Affairs and gives your attorneys the ability to do things such as sell your home and manage your bank and building society accounts and other finances. You can authorise your attorneys to start acting on your behalf under this type of LPA as soon as it has been fully executed and registered. However, without your consent, your attorneys can only start acting for you once you are no longer have the ability to make your own decisions.
- The second type is for Health and Welfare, which gives your attorneys the ability to make decisions about your health matters such as assisting you with your GP on day to day issues, giving consent for medical treatment, and perhaps most importantly in relation to life sustaining treatment. This type of LPA can only be used when you can no longer make your own decisions.
What Is The Process For Making and Registering An LPA?
Once you have decided to use one or both LPAs depending on your needs, the next step is to decide who your attorney or attorneys will be. You are free to have more than 1 attorney and can appoint replacements and these can be friends or family members or professionals. The key point is to ensure that you completely trust your attorneys and have confidence that they have the practical ability and availability to act in your best interests.
After this the relevant LPA documents are completed and can then be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration. Whilst it is not necessary for them to be registered immediately, it is usually a good idea to do so as this will mean that they are available to be used immediately that they are needed and, if there is a problem in the registration process then you should still be available to resolve these problems, whereas if they are not registered until the time when they are needed, then this could cause problems if you need to assist with the correction of any such problems.
A registration fee of £82 is usually payable for the registration of each LPA and it usually takes 8 to 10 weeks for the Office of the Public Guardian to complete the registration process.
We are pleased to advise you in relation to your Lasting Power of Attorney needs. Jordans Solicitors is recognised as a Dementia Friendly firm with many of our staff being Dementia Friends. We can also assist with other issues such as Wills or dealing with probate issues after death. Our wills and probate solicitors are based in Wakefield, Dewsbury, and Horsforth. Feel free to call us on 0330 300 1103 or request a call back.