Lasting Power of Attorney Property & Financial
An important part of planning for the future is to consider your options should you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself. Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney saves time, money and effort if done in advance.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA is a legal document appointing one or more people to help you make decisions in the future. The person handing over power of attorney is the donor, and the people who make decisions on their behalf are attorneys.
The LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions on your behalf if an accident or an illness means that you lose the mental capacity to manage on your own.
There are two types of LPA: a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney and a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.
An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial?
This LPA appoints a family member or trusted friend to make decisions about your finances and other assets, including property. The Property and Financial power of attorney enables attorneys to carry out activities such as managing your bank account, paying bills, collecting benefits and pension funds and selling your home.
Depending on the level of mental capacity you have, you can make decisions jointly with your attorneys, or they can act on your behalf.
Your attorneys must tell people involved in your care when they start acting on your behalf. This includes your friends and family, doctor and other healthcare staff and financial providers. They may want to see proof of your identity and either the original LPA or a certified copy.
Who is involved in making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The key people involved are:
- The donor – the person handing over power of attorney
- Your attorney(s) – the person who will act for the donor
- Certificate provider – a certificate provider confirms that you understand what your LPA will do and that no one is forcing you to make one.
- People to be notified (optional) – a list of people to inform once the LPA is active
- Witnesses – The signing of your LPA needs to be witnessed by at least two people.
Can one Lasting Power of Attorney cover money and health?
You need to set up and register the LPA for money and health separately, as they work differently and apply in different circumstances.
A financial LPA can take effect as soon as it is registered with your permission, allowing you to make decisions with your attorneys about big financial matters. But a health and welfare LPA only becomes effective once you have lost mental capacity – for example, once you are living in a care home.
What could happen if I don’t set up a Property and Financial Lasting Power of Attorney?
People often assume that their spouse can automatically manage your financial affairs if needed, but this is not the case.
If you lose the capacity to make your own decisions and you don’t have a valid lasting power of attorney (or its predecessor, enduring power of attorney) you will need to apply to the Court of Protection.
The Court of Protection decides whether you have the mental capacity to make a decision and if not, makes an order about how your decisions are made. It can be a time-consuming and costly process that must be managed by your partner or family.
How can Expression Wills help me complete a Property and Financial Lasting Power of Attorney?
Expression Wills specialises in all the elements involved in estate planning and will explain all the details about setting up a Power of Attorney. We will help you through the various steps, from deciding on attorneys and involving them in the process through to submitting the signed LPA to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Contact us today to set up a free introductory chat about LPAs and how we can help.