Dealing with the affairs of mentally incapacitated individuals often requires specialist advice. Our Lasting Power of Attorney lawyers are on hand to provide expert and sensitive advice.
Have you thought about what would happen if you lost mental or physical capacity and could not make your own decisions? Who you would trust to act on your behalf?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document which gives someone else permission to manage your finances and property and/or make health and welfare decisions for you in the event that you develop a mental or physical condition that prevents you from doing this for yourself. An LPA protects your best interests and the best interests of your loved ones.
Without an LPA, relatives have to apply to the Court of Protection to become involved, something which can be a long-winded and costly process. If someone becomes incapacitated without having an LPA in place, the Court of Protection can appoint a Deputy to look after their financial affairs.
At Weightmans, we'll guide you sensitively through the process of choosing attorneys, completing the necessary forms and registering a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal tool that enables a person you trust, such as a family member to make important decisions about your finances or property or make health and welfare decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to make these decisions due to the loss of mental capacity.
There are two types of LPA; one is to appoint attorney(s) for property and financial affairs, and the other for health and welfare.
You can choose to do either or both, although they are equally important.
Once complete, your Attorneys can make decisions for you when you no longer wish to or when you lack the mental capacity to do so.
Living Wills or Advanced Medical Directives are often considered at the same time as LPAs.
When is a Lasting Power of Attorney required?
There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you or to act on your behalf:
- This could just be a temporary situation: for example, if you're in hospital and need help with everyday tasks such as paying bills.
- You may need to make longer-term plans if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia and you may lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.
If you have certain investments or business interests, bespoke clauses or considerations need to be made or allowed for within the document.
It is vital that you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney sooner rather than later, and when you are still mentally capable of doing so.
If you are injured or develop an illness that may leave you mentally incapacitated and you do not have an LPA in place, you run the risk of forcing your loved ones into a long and potentially distressing court process as they seek to take over decision making for you.
For more information about mental capacity, see our Court of Protection page.