A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as the ‘attorney’) to act on your behalf should you ever be unable to deal with your affairs.
Such inability may arise as a result of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but equally if you suffered brain damage as a result of a stroke or a car accident.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one which deals with property and financial affairs and the other that deals with health and welfare matters. You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney for one or both areas depending on your needs.
Who can make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 with mental capacity can make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
What are the benefits of making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are many benefits of making a Lasting Power of Attorney, some of which are set out below:
- It can be used both when you have mental capacity, but you no longer wish to make decisions, or if you no longer have the mental capacity to make such decisions.
- It allows you to choose and appoint the people you trust to make decisions on your behalf. This limits the risk of a stranger or someone you may not trust from becoming involved in making decisions for you.
- If you appoint more than one attorney, you can stipulate whether they act together in all matters, jointly and severally, or jointly for some decisions and severally for others. This provides you with maximum control as to how and when decisions are made on your behalf.
- Your attorneys have a legal obligation to act in your best interest when making decisions for you and they have to follow the Code of Practice under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This aims to ensure that your attorneys do not take advantage of you and their position of authority.
- It allows you to plan and discuss the decisions you would want your attorneys to make, in advance of you losing capacity.
- It helps your attorneys deal with your affairs quickly and it also gives them legal standing if they were to be questioned by organisations or other individuals.
- Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place makes things much easier for your loved ones in the future. For example, if you lose mental capacity before making a Lasting Power of Attorney, your relatives would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to make decisions for you. This is a much more time consuming and expensive process.
If you or a family member are thinking about making a Lasting Power of Attorney and would like to discuss the process, then please contact one of our solicitors in the Private Client team who are specialists in this area. Our Private client team can be contacted by telephone on 0118 958 9711.