Lasting Powers of Attorney
As medical advances allow us to live longer, more and more families are being confronted by the problem caused by the mental incapacity of a family member. Careful planning can reduce the impact of mental incapacity on a family so as to make a difficult situation less demanding and stressful and also less costly.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
An LPA allows you to plan in advance:
- The decisions to be made on his or her behalf.
- The people to make those decisions.
- The guidance to give to the people making decisions.
LPA –Financial Decisions
- Allows a family member or trusted friend to run your bank accounts, make decisions about buying and selling your investments and property and to spend your money on your behalf.
- You can decide whether that person acts immediately or only if you become mentally incapable.
- You decide what restrictions to place in the LPA, e.g. you may decide only to allow your bank accounts to be operated under the LPA.
- You have the opportunity to give guidance to your family as to how you want your affairs to be run.
LPA – Health and Care Decisions
Allows a family member or trusted friend to make decisions about your health and care such as:-
- Liaising with Social Services to help you stay in your own home
- If necessary choosing a nursing or residential home
- Assisting in day-to-day issues such as diet, dress or daily routines
- If you wish, the ability to refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf
- An LPA for Health and Care can only be used when you have lost mental capacity, but again you can set out restrictions and guidance as to how you wish it to be used and plan ahead
Anyone who acts for you will have to follow a Code for Conduct laid down by the law and must act in your best interests and (where possible) under your guidance.
Sometimes it is not possible for a person to complete an LPA because they no longer have mental capacity.
In this situation we can still help the family to look after that person’s affairs.
We can apply to the Court of Protection to obtain an Order to appoint a Deputy. A Deputy is a professional person, often another solicitor, who is given Court authority to manage the financial affairs of a living person.
Once appointed the Deputy can act in much the same way as if they have been appointed under an LPA for Financial Decisions. The Deputy must run that person’s affairs in their best interests.