Who should have a Power of Attorney?
Appointing a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a sensible thing for anyone to do, even if you are physically and mentally healthy. This legal document enables one or more appointed individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you were unable to do so. As such, an LPA allows you to regain a sense of control for your future if you happen to lose capacity.
What types of power of attorney are there?
These decisions cover a range of factors in the form of two powers of attorney documents: ‘Property and Affairs’ and ‘Health and Welfare’.
A Property and Affairs LPA cover any financial and property decisions. If you are involved in an unforeseen accident or were living abroad, leaving you unable to carry out daily tasks such as going to the bank, your attorney would be able to help you. They could pay your bills, sell your house, or even manage your bank accounts. You are able to choose when your attorney can make such decisions, either only when you have lost capacity or as soon as the LPA is registered. No matter what, your attorney must always act in your best interest.
A Health and Welfare LPA covers decisions concerning care and treatment in hospital, including life saving treatment or where you shall live. This document can only be enforced where you have lost capacity and when registered with the Office of Public Guardian.
Who should I appoint as an attorney?
You can appoint whoever you wish, but it is important it is someone you trust. Whether that be a family member or friend, who would you want to make these important decisions for you? We usually advise that you appoint two attorneys, or one with a default attorney so that if one attorney is unable to act there is another alternative.
What if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?
If an LPA is not in place and it is too late, meaning you have lost capacity, then making decisions in your best interest are made a little more difficult for your loved ones. An application to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy would need to be made, to access the same rights as those under an attorney status, such as your bank accounts. This is a time-consuming and expensive process for your family members.
Thinking about the future and any unfortunate accidents that may occur to your health, is not a pleasant thought. But an LPA is like taking out insurance; no one wants to crash their car or lose a limb, which is why having a policy in place is vital for assurance. Registering an LPA should be considered a normal part of life, where the people you trust the most, make decisions that matter the most.