With people in the UK living longer, many are concerned about conditions associated with old age that can cause them to be unable to make decisions for themselves. These illnesses, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and strokes, can result in a loss of capacity. A lasting power of attorney is a means by which a person can decide who will make decisions for them if they are unable to do so. TheEstate Planning Solicitors at Wilford Smith specialise in all matters relating to lasting powers of attorney, and can advise on planning for the future in case you are unable to manage your affairs yourself. Call us today to find out how we can help.
What is a lasting power of attorney (LPA)?
An LPA is a legal document that gives you the power to have your say about issues that might affect your life in the future, in the event that you do not have the capacity to make these decisions yourself. LPAs were introduced on 1 October 2007, replacing enduring powers of attorney (EPAs). If you set up an EPA before this date, it will continue to remain valid. An LPA involves you (the donor) giving another person (the attorney) the legal right to make decisions for you if you are not able to make these yourself. In many cases, people will appoint a close family member or friend as their attorney. It is also possible to appoint multiple attorneys with responsibility for making decisions about different parts of your life, and you can request that decisions be made jointly by more than one attorney.
What types of decisions can be made under a LPA?
There are two types of LPA:
Property and affairs LPA
A property and affairs LPA covers decisions made regarding your financial affairs and property owned by you. This includes dealing with your money, including opening and closing bank accounts, buying and selling property, receiving and using any benefits on your behalf, dealing with your taxes, receiving your income or any inheritance, and making gifts on your behalf. There are restrictions in place limiting how some of these duties can be carried out, for example by limiting the size of gifts that an attorney can make on your behalf. Your attorney will be obliged to act in your best interests at all times.
Personal welfare LPA
A personal welfare LPA, which will only come into effect after you have lost mental capacity, covers a wide range of decisions, which may need to be made regarding your welfare. These include where you should live, the type of care you will receive and who you can have contact with. Under a personal welfare LPA, the attorney may also be given the right to access your personal information, your correspondence and papers, and handle any complaints about your care and treatment. You can decide the scope of these powers at the time of making a personal welfare LPA, and certain decisions, such as whether you will receive life-saving or life-prolonging treatment, can only be made by your attorney with your express consent. Your attorney is under an obligation to act in your best interests at all times.
Is a LPA different from a living Will?
Yes, an LPA is more wide-ranging in its powers than a living Will. A living Will only details the types of medical treatments you wish to receive if you are unable to decide for yourself, and when you wish to receive them. A living Will can be read alongside an LPA, as long as the two do not contain contradictory information. A living Will can also be made as part of an LPA, giving details on what types of treatment you are happy to receive.
Contact our Lasting Power of Attorney Lawyers in Sheffield and London, UK
Wilford Smith's Estate Planning Team offers a comprehensive service in all areas of estate planning. If you are considering making a lasting power of attorney, our solicitors can offer you clear, jargon-free advice to support you in deciding what is best for you. With a wide-ranging client base, we are experienced in managing estates of all sizes, including large estates and those that are international in scope. Our solicitors provide a high-level professional service, tailored to your needs.
Our Estate Planning Solicitors are based in Sheffield and London and serve clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.