What is “Power of Attorney”?
Planning for a time when you’re no longer able to manage your affairs isn’t exactly the most cheerful subject, but if you want to make sure that your wishes are carried out in the event that you suffer an accident or develop an illness, this is something you’ll need to think about.
Luckily, help is at hand. Expert solicitors like those at The Law House can arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for you. If you’re not sure what these documents are, this brief guide should help.
An LPA is a legal document that allows you to select one or more people (known as attorneys) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to or no longer want to. These representatives have the right to manage your affairs in the event of certain injuries or illnesses. You must be 18 or over and have the ability to make your own decisions when you draw up your LPA. Also, you need to register the document with the Office of the Public Guardian in order to use it. This can be done at any point after you have made your LPA.
The documents replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) in 2007. However, if you made an EPA before 1 October 2007, this can still be used as long as it is registered with the OPG.
There are two types of LPA. The first concerns your personal welfare and the second deals with your property and finances. Personal welfare LPAs relate to issues such as day to day care, medical treatment, moving into care homes and other similar points. They come into effect once you are no longer able to make decisions in this area.
Property and financial LPAs cover issues like paying bills, collecting benefits and selling or buying property. You can appoint someone to take care of these matters at any time.
When to make one
You can create an LPA at any time as long as you’re 18 or over. However, this must be done while you’re still capable of making decisions concerning who to appoint and what powers you want to give them.
As a general rule, it’s best to create these documents sooner rather than later. After all, it’s impossible to predict what the future holds. Also, once you have made your LPA, you can enjoy greater peace of mind. You’ll know that your interests will be protected regardless of what happens.