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Leaving behind a Will ensures that our affairs are looked after once we die, but not everybody thinks about what would happen if they were unable to manage their affairs during their lifetime.

In England and Wales, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows another individual to have the legal authority to make financial or health and welfare decisions if you lose capacity, either temporarily or permanently, to do so. LPA’s are recognised by both financial and medical institutions such as; banks, care homes, tax and pension authorities.

There are two different types of LPA’s:

  1. Financial and Property – this LPA can either be used when a person has lost mental capacity, or while a person still has capacity but the Attorney must have their permission to make those decisions. Examples of financial and property decisions are: running your bank accounts, paying your bills or selling your house.
  2. Health and Welfare – this LPA will only come into effect if a person has lost mental capacity. Examples of health and welfare decisions are: where you should live, your day-to-day care and consenting to or refusing medical treatment.

As we are currently experiencing with the Coronavirus pandemic, mental or physical incapacity can happen at any time which is why everyone should plan ahead with a LPA. If a person does not have a LPA in place and they lose capacity, their relatives may experience long delays, unnecessary stress and expense in applying to the Court of Protection so that they can have access to the person’s finances.

Deciding to make an LPA is a very important decision and everyone who has made one should feel confident that any decisions in respect of their affairs, will be made correctly by the one’s they trust the most. However, Attorneys cannot just do as they please, they must still act in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and any concerns will be investigated by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

Please note that there is plenty of help and guidance in relation to making an LPA on the OPG website and please contact our Private Client team on email or phone on 01484 821 500 for free initial advice on these matters.