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Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPA’s”)

LPA’s are legal documents that allow you to appoint someone to make decisions for your. That person is known as your Attorney. You are the Donor.

There are two types of LPA’s:

One is to deal with health and welfare, and comes into effect when you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. The types of areas that this LPA covers are decisions as to where you live, what medical care you should receive and there is a specific section that gives you the option of deciding whether you want to give your Attorney the power to make decisions regarding your life sustaining treatment.

The second form of LPA deals with property and finance, and as the name suggests, the Attorney appointed under this LPA deals with money, investments, the payment of bills and related matters. Most people put in a provision to the effect that this LPA will only come into force and effect when a doctor has certified that you have lost mental capacity.

The process of making a LPA is quite complicated. The forms are divided into three parts:

In part A, you decide who your Attorneys are and whether they need to act jointly or severally – in other words do they all need to agree to any decision being made or, if there is more than one Attorney, can each individual make decisions. Part B provides information on a person known as a Certificate Provider, who will certify that you understand the purpose and scope of the LPA and that there is no fraud or undue pressure on you to create it. Part C is signed by the Attorney, who accepts the responsibility to act as an Attorney under the LPA.

Putting these documents in place takes time and costs money. The first question that is usually asked is why should I bother? The short answer to that question is because to lose mental capacity without LPA’s in place, leaves your family, friends and advisers in a very difficult position. Their only alternative is to apply to have a Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection. This takes even more time and expense that putting LPA’s.

If you are going to appoint Attorneys, you need to think very carefully about who you will appoint. Given the very difficult nature of the two LPA’s, it may be that one particular member of the family might be well suited to deal with health and welfare matters. Other practical matters to think about are the number of Attorneys you wish to appoint. If you have several children, you may feel it is only fair that all of them are appointed Attorney. In that case, it would probably be sensible to allow them to act individually (severally), rather than jointly, so that you do not have a family conference every time a decision needs to be made!

For more information or if you have any queries about this matter, please contact Iain Monaghan  by telephone 020 7625 6003 or by email: i.monaghan@fgdlaw.co.uk