Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document. It allows you to appoint someone that you trust as an ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf. Attorneys can make decisions for you when you no longer wish to or when you lack the mental capacity to do so.
What ‘lacking mental capacity’ means
Someone can lack mental capacity if they have an injury, disorder or condition that affects the way their mind works. This could mean they have difficulty making decisions all of the time or that it might take them a long time to make a decision.
The benefits of a Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney can help you plan how your health, wellbeing and financial affairs will be looked after. It allows you to plan in advance:
- the decisions you want to be made on your behalf if you lose capacity to make them yourself
- the people you want to make these decisions
- how you want the people to make these decisions
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney is a safe way of maintaining control over decisions made for you because:
- it has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used
- you choose someone to provide a ‘certificate’, which means they confirm that you understand the significance and purpose of what you’re agreeing to
- you can choose who gets told about your Lasting Power of Attorney when it is registered (so they have an opportunity to raise concerns)
- your signature and the signatures of your chosen attorneys must be witnessed
- your attorney(s) must follow the Code of Practice of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and act in your best interests
- the Office of the Public Guardian provides helpful support and advice
The different types of Lasting Power of Attorney
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
- property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
Health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
A health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to choose one or more people to make decisions for things such as medical treatment. A health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used if you lack the ability to make decisions for yourself.
Property and financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
A property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney lets you choose one or more people to make property and financial affairs decisions for you. This could include decisions about paying bills or selling your home. You can appoint someone as an attorney to look after your property and financial affairs at any time. You can also include a condition that means the attorney can only make decisions when you lose the ability to do so yourself.
How to make and register a Lasting Power of Attorney
Seeking our professional advice to make a Lasting Power of Attorney is a good idea. This is useful especially if you have complicated personal, property or financial affairs.
Please contact Graham Howard at our Coventry office or Mary Mulhern at our Coleshill office for further advice or assistance.