A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf or act for you if you are no longer able to make them yourself or if you no longer wish to. Many people believe that if this happens then their family or friends can just take over. This is simply not true, and you will need a Lasting Power of Attorney in place if you want to decide what will happen to you if you lose mental capacity.
There are several scenarios where this can happen for example if you are in hospital and need someone to assist you with payment of your bills or everyday tasks.
We are all aware of the effects of Dementia and its devastating effects on the person diagnosed and their close relatives. You could suffer an accident, suffer a brain injury or other mental health issue in the future which would mean you may lose the mental capacity to make decisions on your own.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which makes plans now for who and how your relatives or friends will assist you should any of these unfortunate events occur.
There are different types of Powers of Attorney
This is used to cover decisions in relation to your financial matters e.g., access to your bank, payment of household bills and is valid while you have mental capacity and is used for temporary periods e.g.: hospital stay or holiday or if you find it hard to get out and about and want someone to help you.
Lasting Power Of Attorney
There are 2 different types of LPA namely: Health and Welfare and Finance and Property. They must be registered with The Office of The Public Guardian whilst you still have mental capacity, but which come into effect should you lose capacity or if you no longer wish to make decisions yourself.
The Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorney i.e., ;(someone you can trust often a family member) make decisions relating to your medical treatment once you have lost mental capacity. For example: Your medical care which can include decisions about life saving treatment or where you should live.
The Finance and Property LPA allows your Attorney to deal with your financial affairs on your behalf and your property whilst you still have mental capacity, or you can state it can only be used when you have lost capacity. Examples of use are: Buying or selling property, paying the mortgage, paying bills Your chosen attorney must keep accounts and you can ask for details of how your money is being spent.
Without these in place should you lose mental capacity then decisions may be made by people who you have not chosen, and the process becomes far more costly.
Finally, a Lasting power of Attorney provides you with peace of mind that in the event it is needed, it ensures that the decisions that are made on your behalf are what you would want. They are made by the people you have chosen and trust and provide a safe way of controlling decisions made in the future on your behalf.