A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
Appointing lasting power of attorney gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions.
There are two types of LPA:
Health & Welfare which looks after your health and care needs.
Property & Affairs which looks after your bills, banking etc…
Without an LPA it is up to the Court of Protection to decide who looks after your affairs. This can cost you thousands of pounds in fees every year if the Court act.
To set up a lasting power of attorney you need to first contact the Office of the Public Guardian to get the relevant forms and an information pack. You then need to carefully fill out the relevant forms. You can get a local advice agency to help you fill these out to ensure that everything is filled out correctly.
Once your forms are filled in you need to get your LPA signed by a certificate provider. This is someone who confirms that you understand the forms and haven’t been put under pressure to sign it. The certificate provider must be someone you know well or a professional person such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor.
The last step in setting up your lasting power of attorney is registering with the Office of the Public Guardian which must be done before it can be used. There is a fee to register your LPA which you can enquire about. You must register your LPA while you still have mental capacity.
Witnesses and certificate providers must be some aged 18 or over. Attorneys can witness each other sign, but they can’t:
Having Mental capacity means that you have the ability to make or communicate specific decisions at the time they need to be made. To be considered to have mental capacity you must understand the decision you need to make, why it needs to be made and the likely outcome of your decision.
Needing more time to understand or communicate doesn’t mean you lack mental capacity. Having dementia doesn’t automatically mean that someone is unable to make decisions for themselves. If someone is having difficulty communicating a decision, an attempt should always be made to overcome those difficulties.
Should the time come that you are unable to make or understand decisions for yourself, you will need someone to make decisions for you and appointing power of attorney will give you control over who this person is.
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