Setting Up A Lasting Power Of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you to appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or make them on your behalf.
If you were to have an accident or illness which affected your mental capacity, an attorney can help carry out your wishes. There are two types of LPAs: health and welfare, and property and financial affairs. You can choose to make one or both.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare makes decisions about your daily routine, such as washing, eating, and medical care. A property and financial affairs attorney makes decisions about managing your bank or building society, paying bills, and collecting benefits or your pension.
Who should you appoint?
Choosing an attorney can be a difficult decision, and therefore it is important that you consider certain factors. The attorney can be a relative, partner, friend or professional such as a solicitor, as long as they are 18 or over. They do not need to be a UK citizen, however if they are acting as a property and financial affairs attorney, they can’t have been declared bankrupt or be subject to a debt relief order.
When choosing an attorney, you must consider how well you know the person: do you trust them to make decisions in your best interest? It’s also essential to think about how well they look after their own affairs, such as their finances. The role of an attorney involves a great deal of power and responsibility; therefore, it is important to trust who you choose. When you have chosen an attorney, you should give the person time to think about the role, with no pressure to accept. Giving them as much information as you can will ensure that they are fully aware of your wishes and understand the seriousness of the commitment.
You may choose more than one attorney, and if so, it is important to decide whether they will make decisions together or separately. For an issue like selling a house you may choose that they act jointly, whereas other welfare issues may be decided on separately.
What your attorney needs to know
Your attorney will have to submit an annual report to the Office of Public Guardian explaining the reasoning behind the decisions they have made, as well as submitting financial details like bank statements. They will be supervised by OPG, but after the first year this supervision will be fairly minimal.
It is important to nominate other people to replace your attorneys, if at some point they cannot act on your behalf anymore.
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