What are Lasting Powers of Attorney and why are they important?


2 June 2017

By Lisa Carter

Studies show that only 5% of the population are prepared for mental capacity issues in the future.

It is important to prepare for our future and as we get older the risk of developing dementia increases.  Currently an estimated 850,000 people have been diagnosed with dementia and this has been predicted to rise in the next three decades to over two million.  

Have you ever wondered who would deal with your affairs if you lost capacity?  A Lasting Power of Attorney ("LPA") enables you to appoint people to act on your behalf should you require it in the future. There are two types of LPA, one that covers your property and financial affairs and the other your health and welfare. 

The property and financial affairs LPA can be used straight away once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It is not only beneficial to those who have lost capacity but also those who are housebound or have mobility issues. This document allows those with or without capacity to receive help and assistance with their day-to-day affairs. 

The health and welfare LPA is also registered with the Office of the Public Guardian but can only be used if or when you lose capacity. This document enables you to grant your Attorneys the right to make decisions about life sustaining treatment and, if you needed to go into care, they would be more involved in choosing a home on your behalf rather than such decisions being left solely to doctors or Social Services. Being next of kin for someone does not automatically give them the right to act on your behalf and if you wish to ensure they have the authority to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so then you need to make an LPA. 

What happens if I do not make a LPA and I lose capacity? 

Once you have lost capacity you can no longer make an LPA and it will then be necessary for the people who want to act on your behalf to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as Deputies.  There is no guarantee that they will be appointed and the process is more lengthy and costly than the creation of LPAs so it is therefore advisable to put LPAs in place whilst you have the capacity to do so. This ensures that the people you wish to make decisions for you are able to do so and can prevent difficulties in the future.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney or would like to make an appointment, please contact Lisa Carter on 01245 228127.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. Article researched and published by Stephanie Thompson – Gepp and Sons Private Client Team