An LPA has lots of safeguards, with attorneys agreeing to help you make decisions
where possible, to only do things in your best interests and to minimise any restrictions
to your freedom.
Lasting Power of Attorney: how does it work?
The LPA legislation came into force on 1st October 2007, replacing the rules for
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA). Existing EPAs remain valid but only deal with
your financial affairs. It is only LPAs that can be made from 1/10/07 onwards and
they come in two flavours :-
LPA Property & Financial Affairs (LPA-PFA) dealing with financial matters such as
your house, bank account, savings, pension and applying for benefits.
LPA Health & Welfare (LPA-HW) dealing with healthcare, medical matters and so forth.
Creating an LPA involves some important choices, especially when deciding who you
are going to appoint as attorney(s). If at all possible you should choose more than
one attorney - it is typical to appoint members of your family, but you do not have
to and you always need to choose carefully.
It must be your decision - no one should pressurise you or unduly influence your
choice. That is why when you make an LPA it must be clear that you still know what
you are doing and are still able to make big decisions on your own. Indeed, part
of the process involves an appropriate person certifying the form to confirm you
still have mental capacity when the LPA is made. The attorneys that you choose also
sign the form and then it is ready for registration.
Although you don’t have to register immediately the LPA cannot be used until the
registration has been completed, so generally we get registration sorted straightaway.
The home visit service provided by InHouse can take care of this for you. We give
you all the advice that you need, draft the forms for you and provide the independent
certification of your mental capacity. We can also help with the registration process.
Sometimes when considering an LPA people are concerned that they are giving away
their assets. The very opposite is true; you are keeping control of your life. With
an LPA in place, should you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself then
the people you have chosen make the decisions for you - but acting only in your best
interests and always bearing in mind your wishes.
On Health & Welfare matters the attorneys can only make decisions if you are unable
to decide yourself. However on Property & Financial Affairs they can use the LPA
immediately, such as to look after things whilst you are away on holiday or perhaps
because you are physically unable to visit the bank etc. But remember, in signing
the LPA form the attorneys are committing to help you and not to unduly restrict
your freedom; in other words, they are agreeing not to take control away from you
nor to boss you around.
If you make an LPA but then later change your mind, then for as long as you still
have mental capacity you can revoke the existing LPA and make a different one.
Lasting Power of Attorney: Letting you choose what happens
LPA - you decide now for what might happen in the future