Lasting power of attorney
Who would look after your affairs if you became incapable during your lifetime?
Approximately 700,000 people in the UK now suffer from dementia, and this number is rising as one new case is diagnosed every 3 minutes.
Many thousands more people are incapable of handling their own affairs due to losing the capacity to make decisions, severe physical disability or strokes, or other similar illnesses.
What is lasting power of attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney LPA is a legal document that enables you to appoint people to handle your property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare decisions should you become incapable of doing so yourself. All of our clients are offered the opportunity to take out an LPA should they choose.
How do I get lasting power of attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made whilst you still have your mental capacity. They cannot be made if any fraud or undue pressure is being used to induce you to create it. To ensure that these conditions are being satisfied it is necessary for a “certificate provider” to sign the LPA with you confirming that he or she discussed the LPA with you, is happy that you understand the purpose and scope of the LPA, and is happy that no fraud or undue pressure has been used to influence the creation of the LPA. As our representative will always discuss matters in full with you in a face to face appointment before we draft any documents, we are very happy for our representative to act as your certificate provider when we create an LPA for you as part of our service.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). We will happily draft an LPA for you and also handle the registration of it at the OPG at no extra cost.
Key principles of MCA
Lasting Powers of Attorney are governed by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and attorneys must always act in your best interests following the following principles of the MCA:
(I) they must assume that you can make your own decisions unless it has been established that you can’t.
(ii) they must take all practical steps to help you to make your own decisions wherever possible, and should only treat you as not capable of making a decision when they have failed in helping you to make a decision via those steps.
(iii) they cannot treat you as unable to make a decision simply because you make an unwise decision or a decision they might disagree with.
(iv) they must act in your best interests when you cannot make a decision yourself.
(v) before making a decision for you they must consider whether they can achieve the same purpose in a manner that is less restrictive of your rights and freedoms.
Hopefully, you will never need your Lasting Power of Attorney, but it provides peace of mind once created, and could become of vital importance should the time come when it is needed.
How to arrange power of attorney
Be clear whether you want to appoint somebody to handle property and financial matters, health and welfare decisions, or both.
Consider whether you want to appoint one person or two or more people.
If appointing two or more people consider whether you would want them to work together at all times, or whether you are happy for them to work alone if needs be.
Consider whether you wish to include restrictions of your choice. For example, you may wish to include a medical restriction stating that the LPA can only be used once a medical practitioner is of the opinion that you lack the capacity to handle your own affairs. Another example is whether you would want to give somebody absolute power to act on your behalf, or whether there are any limitations you would wish to impose upon them.
If making an LPA for health and welfare consider whether your attorneys can give or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. This means care, surgery, medicine, or any other medical intervention which is needed to keep you alive. Examples are major operations, cancer treatment, and artificial nutrition and hydration
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