Essential peace of mind for you and your loved ones on Lasting Powers of Attorney and the Court of Protection

When you are unable to manage your affairs or make decisions for yourself, it gives peace of mind to know that you have appointed someone to do this for you. A power of attorney is a legal document that gives an individual(s) (your attorney) the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf in respect of you finances or your welfare.

Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

There are two types of LPAs:

  • A property and financial affairs LPA, which allows your attorney to deal with your property and finances, as you specify. This includes dealing with banks, pensions and even selling property
  • A health and welfare LPA, which allows your attorney to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf, but only when you lack mental capacity to do so yourself. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life-sustaining treatment

With both powers of attorney, they must be registered before they can be used.

For many years, our team have been carefully and sensitively managing affairs for elderly clients, many of whom suffer with dementia. If you do not have a family member or close friend do not let this put you off from making a power of attorney, as we can also help with this.

It is often an ideal opportunity to consider Lasting Powers of Attorney at the same time as making or reviewing your Will.

Existing Enduring Powers of Attorney

Any enduring power, validly made before 1 October 2007, can still be used but only in respect of your property and financial affairs. If you wish to give authority over your health or welfare, you will need to make a health and welfare LPA.

If you are appointed as an attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney, it may become necessary to register this with the Office of the Public Guardian.

We have a team experienced in guiding clients through the process of making and registering powers of attorney. They will ensure that the Lasting power of Attorney is right for your particular circumstances and deal with the Office of the Public Guardian to register them.

What happens if you have not made an LPA or EPA and you lack capacity?

For those unfortunate to lose capacity without a Power of Attorney, it will be necessary for a Deputy to be appointed by the Court of Protection.

We are experienced in dealing with the Court of Protection to assist with the preparation of the applications to have a loved one or friend to be appointed as a deputy. Once the order comes through our support does not have to end there. We are able to support lay deputies in their role, ensuring that the legal requirements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Code of Conduct are followed correctly.

Benefits of using an LPA to appoint an attorney

  • Choice: the majority of people appoint other family members as their attorneys - people who know you well and are more likely to respect your preferences and best interests.
  • Flexibility: unlike a deputyship, an LPA can assign a role to your attorney even without a loss of mental capacity. For example, they could be authorised to deal with your bank if you became physically unable to get to the branch for a while.
  • Control: an LPA can be planned in advance at your own pace, avoiding the last-minute urgency of the Court.
  • Cost: the appointment of deputies is likely to be significantly more expensive than drawing up an LPA. In some cases, two applications to the Court may be required, doubling the cost.
  • Speed: an LPA can be completed and registered in advance and is ready to use immediately in an unexpected situation, for example if you have a stroke. It can also be registered in advance with organizations such as banks. With a deputyship application, it is not uncommon for it to take 6 months or more to give the deputy authority to act.
  • Scope: A “health and welfare” deputy appointed by the Court of Protection cannot give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment for you, unlike an attorney appointed by LPA. If you were seriously ill, your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment might not be respected.