What to know about a lasting power of attorney
Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) were introduced by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and are designed to give individuals more influence on what happens to them if their mental capacity is impaired in the future.
This impairment could be a result of a mental illness such as Alzheimer’s disease or a severe accident which has resulted in brain damage.
There are two kinds of LPAs. The first relates to control of property and financial affairs whilst the second covers health and welfare. The latter is similar to a living will and allows the attorneys to make decisions about personal welfare as well as giving consent to continuing medical treatment.
You can make either LPA, or both, if you have full mental capacity and are over 18 years-of-age.
It cannot be stressed enough that it is important to think about appointing attorneys at an early stage, such as when you are making a will. You must be able to understand the documents you are signing, and so the LPA will be executed well before it is likely to be needed. It means you can appoint a friend or family member whom you trust to carry out your wishes if you are no longer able to express them. Failure to make provision may mean the courts step in to make an appointment and this may not be the outcome you would wish.
One aspect of the LPA is that a certificate provider must confirm that no undue pressure has been placed on the donor of the powers to create the LPA and that the attorney understands the scope of the powers and their purpose.
A certificate provider must not be a family member, have known the donor for at least two years, and have the professional skills to make the necessary judgements, such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor.
It is vital to seek legal advice on LPAs since they potentially will have a huge impact not only on your own life and care, but also on your family members. In legal hubs such as Gloucester solicitors are available to offer advice on these legal instruments and can be found at sites such as Gloucester solicitors.
LPAs are a good idea whatever your age and having one in place offers peace of mind.