A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf, should you lack mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.
Who would you like to manage your affairs if you were unable?
Many of us care for, or know someone who is caring for, a person with alzheimer’s or dementia. There are around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, of whom 40,000 are under 65. This number is forecast to exceed one million by 2025 according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to plan ahead to ease the potential burden on relatives should you lose mental capacity in the future. A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal way to give another individual the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to do so. It’s not just for the elderly; younger people may also become incapacitated through accident or illness.
Two Types of LPA
There are two types of lasting power of attorney, one that deals with your finances and another that deals with your health.
LPA for your Health and Welfare
Making a lasting power of attorney for health and welfare allows your chosen attorney to make important decisions in your best interests including; giving or refusing certain types of medical care and the choice of your care home.
Choice of care home
With an LPA for health and welfare your loved ones will be able to move you to a different care home if they do not feel you are being well looked after.
Life sustaining treatment
You family, rather than doctors, will be able to make a decision regarding life sustaining treatment, based on what you write in your LPA.
You are able to specify guidance in your LPA regarding your preferred daily routine, dress and diet for your chosen attorney’s to follow.
LPA for your Property and Finances
This allows your chose attorney to operate your bank accounts, sell your property and claim benefits to use on your behalf. It is extremely important for those with joint assets such as a home or joint bank accounts.
Accessing bank accounts
Your chosen attorney will be able to access bank accounts and pay bills on your behalf. If you do not have an LPA for finance then your partner may be left unable to access joint bank accounts.
Accessing your benefits
An LPA will allow your chosen person to continue to access your pensions and other benefits on your behalf to pay for things in your best interests.
Selling your home
Should you require care in the future you will be unable to sell your home to fund care fees unless you have full mental capacity. By making an LPA you can give authority to a trusted person to do this for you, ensuring they can access money from your home to pay for the best possible care for you.