A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a powerful legal document which allows you to choose who you would want to look after your affairs if you were unable to do so yourself for example due to lack of mental capacity. A LPA should not be confused with a Will as they perform totally different functions. A LPA will only be in force while you are alive and your Will only takes effect after you pass away.

The LPA allows you to choose who you want to act (up to four attorneys can be appointed) and also how they act, that is, do all of the attorneys have to agree and sign each document or can one attorney sign on behalf of all attorneys.

Once the form is registered it takes effect and can be used when needed.

There are currently two types of LPA, a Health and Welfare LPA and a Finance and Property LPA. The Health and Welfare LPA allows the attorneys to make decisions about such things as a care home or carers and also you can provide them with the right to refuse or consent to life sustaining treatment if you are not able to do so yourself.

The Finance and Property LPA allows the attorneys to deal with such matters as bank and building society accounts, your property, and to deal with such organisations as the Department of Work and Pensions and any private pension providers. You are able to undertake one or both of the LPA’s.

Should you so wish you can place restrictions on that the attorneys can do, such as not permitting them to deal with the property or only to deal with certain bank accounts. You are also able to provide them with guidance on the form should you so wish. It is also possible, so long as you have mental capacity, to cancel the LPA form at any time.

If somebody loses capacity and there is no LPA in place then this can cause considerable difficulty. Not only does this situation cause significantly more distress to family members but the option open to them of an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order is a long drawn out and very expensive procedure.

It is of course hoped that the Lasting Power of Attorney once completed will not be required however for a relatively small outlay it can provide significant peace of mind.

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