LEGAL ease column: What is a lasting power of attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document you can sign which lets you choose one or more people you trust (your attorneys) to make decisions for you and sign things on your behalf. There are two different types of LPA:
• A Property & Financial affairs LPA can be used by your attorneys to manage your finances and deal with any property you own. It can be used whether or not you have lost your mental faculties. It could be useful if you find it difficult to write, if you cannot get out to do your banking or pay bills, if you find it difficult to speak (or hear) on the telephone or simply if you are
going to be in hospital or abroad for a long period. You could also use it if you would simply prefer to let the younger generation sort things out for you.
• A Health & Welfare LPA covers decisions about your healthcare and welfare, such as whether you live at home or in residential care, what you wear, who can visit you, among other things. You can also use this type of LPA so that your attorneys can give permission for, or refuse, medical treatment for you. This type of LPA can only be used by your attorneys if you cannot make these decisions for yourself, perhaps if you have lost your mental faculties or are in a coma.
REMEMBER: You can only make an LPA if you have not already lost your mental faculties. You can have either type of LPA or both.
Each LPA must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used by your attorneys. This takes time, so contact your solicitor and plan ahead.
LPAs are not just for retired people – think how difficult it would be for your family if you were incapacitated by an accident.
To find out more, call Caroline Cunnington or Helen Pacey at Mossop & Bowser Solicitors, on 01406 422651.