There comes a time in our lives when making decisions regarding our finances and health can become difficult. Making arrangements to appoint someone to make these decisions for us, whilst we still have the mental capacity, is a positive and sensible approach to something that could affect us all at any point.
An LPA is a legal document which allows you to appoint an attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself, or simply require some assistance in making certain decisions.
Types of LPA
- Property and financial affairs – Your attorneys can make decisions in relation to such things as your bank accounts, savings and investments etc. Your Attorney may also have the authority to buy and sell property on your behalf.
- A personal welfare LPA – Your attorneys can make decisions about your medical treatment and personal welfare issues such as where you should live and your day to day care.
You can create one, or both of the above.
It is important to create an LPA while you still have mental capacity. If capacity is lost, then you will not be able to create an LPA, and an application to the Court of Protection will be necessary.
A Court of Protection application is a more expensive, lengthy and complex procedure than simply creating an LPA. It also removes the ability for you to choose who you would like to appoint to manage your affairs, the final decision being made by the Court.
Unfortunately, it is also not the case that if you are married you have an automatic right to make decisions in relation to the property and financial affairs of your spouse. Recent guidance issued to banks and building societies means that joint accounts are likely to be frozen if one of the account holder loses mental capacity. This is not the case if the person who has lost mental capacity has created an LPA (or an old style Enduring Power of Attorney).
It can be particularly important to have an LPA in place in the event that joint property needs to be sold and one of you has lost mental capacity.
Before an LPA takes legal effect, it must first be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
An LPA is only valid during a person’s life time. At the point of death, it ceases to have any legal effect and the Executors appointed in a will have the legal authority to deal with the assets in the estate, settle any liabilities and to distribute the assets in accordance with the will.
For more information or advice on LPA’s please contact Joanne. Alternatively, you can call to speak to one of our team on 0115 9888 777.