Plan for the future

Often these are overlooked and deemed nothing more than a requirement for older people in later life. At Culver Law, we strongly believe that everyone should have both types of LPA in place and that these documents are the most important legal documents you will ever sign.

Whilst many of us may develop dementia, it is a cruel fact of life that any one of us could have an accident, suffer an injury or develop an illness at any time and therefore, steps need to be taken to ensure your finances, the wellbeing of your family and your medical wishes are respected.

We insure our cars, our lives, our properties. An LPA is a way of insuring your life and standard of living.

Secure your family's future…

If you were to suffer an illness and were unable, even temporarily, to make decisions for yourself then without the correct paperwork in place no one will be able to help you.

Many people do not realise that your spouse/partner/next of kin will not be able to access your finances or make decisions on your behalf without further legal authority.

This means no one can access your accounts, pay your bills, proceed with your business or make decisions on your behalf without making an application to Court.

Going to Court can be expensive and take a long time and in the meantime no one can help you or ensure your needs are met.

It may be that help or assistance is only needed for short periods of time but sometimes it’s more long term. There are lots of reasons why help may be needed; when recovering from an operation or illness, when overseas, when paperwork is confusing, stressful and worrying, or just due to becoming forgetful or simply uninterested. With a bit of forward planning and taking the time to prepare a Power of Attorney this can all be avoided.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorises a trusted person of your choice to make decisions and take certain actions on your behalf if for some reason you are unable to do so yourself. It is arguably the most important legal document you will ever write as it acts a lot like an insurance policy in the sense that if you are unable to make a decision a person you trust will make it for you.

There are various types of power of attorney including:

General or Specific Powers of Attorney

A general Power of Attorney, or a Specific Power of Attorney as they are sometimes described (POA), is a short form document that usually authorises a person to carry out one transaction on your behalf. They are limited in duration and usefulness have a short shelf life before it needs to be renewed and it is also invalid should the person who has made the document lose capacity. Whilst useful for a short term purpose therefore, they are not the ideal solution.

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Since October 2007 it is no longer possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney (‘EPA’) but those made before this date remain legally usable.

The idea behind the EPA was that it can continue to be used if you lost capacity at some point in the future. At that stage however the EPA needs to be registered to continue to be used.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) is a document which enables a trusted person to assist with your finances and other affairs whenever necessary. There are two types:

  • Financial Affairs LPA
  • A Health and Welfare LPA

The Financial LPA appoints a person or persons of your choice to look after your money and property in the event of you becoming physically or mentally incapable.

The Health and Welfare LPA covers all non monetary decisions including medical decisions, where you live and whether you move into a care home and can even cover your preferences regarding life sustaining treatment.

Before use both types of LPA must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. We believe everyone should have both types of LPA no matter their age or circumstances. It is not necessary to register the LPA until it is needed but we do recommend registration as soon as the LPA is signed so that when needed there is no delay.

It is essential to have an LPA in place before you start to lose capacity as failure to do so will mean the LPA is not legally valid.

What about end of life decisions?

A Health and Welfare LPA can include a statement authorising your Attorney to make end of life decisions on your behalf but often it is important for them to consider your wishes.

Further if your attorney is not present in the event of an accident it may be necessary for the hospital to be aware of your wishes in advance. For this reason it is worth considering making an Advance Decision – a form of authority to your hospital to stop treatment in certain circumstances.

What do I include in the LPA?

It is important to include preferences and instructions with an LPA so that your attorneys know their limitations and your wishes.

It would not be wise to prepare such a powerful legal document as an LPA without such items included. At Culver Law we can advise on suitable instructions to prevent your attorneys from unintentionally acting beyond their remit and landing themselves in trouble. Part of this exercise also ensures you are fully protected and your future is secure.

What if I do not have an LPA?

Then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy.

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Culver Law, London
44 Southampton Buildings
0203 633 6226
Company No. 13313009

Culver Law, Cambridge
9 Hills Road
01223 653010

Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Number: 820401.

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