Why do I need an LPA?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that can drastically improve quality of life for you and your family if you lose the ability to handle your affairs. Whilst it may be unlikely that you would expect ever to lose capacity, it can sadly happen to anyone, and therefore having a plan in place just in case is in most people’s best interests.
With an LPA, you can choose someone you trust to act on your behalf, giving them the power to manage your financial affairs or make decisions relating to your care whilst you lack the mental capacity to do this for yourself, whether this is temporary or permanent. The type of authority that they have will be subject to the type of LPA you choose, giving you control over which decisions they can make for you.
What happens if I do not have an LPA in place and lose capacity?
It is not something we like to think would ever happen to us, but being prepared could save you and your family a lot of distress and thousands of pounds. By law, if there is no LPA in place and you lose capacity, anyone wanting to make even some of the simplest decisions on your behalf, such as paying your bills, must apply for a Deputyship Order through the Court of Protection. This applies even to spouses and can be a costly, lengthy process.
Not only can this add to the stress of an already difficult time, but it also doesn't give the deputy autonomous authority; they may still need to gain permission from the court for certain decisions and pay fees for continued supervision.
I already have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) - do I need an LPA?
An EPA is very similar to a Property & Financial Affairs LPA and was commonly used before 2007, when the LPA was first introduced. If you created your EPA before October 2007, it is likely still valid and can be called upon should you ever lose capacity. However, it is worth considering an LPA if you would like more flexibility, particularly regarding your appointment of attorneys. Under the EPA rules, you can only appoint one attorney, meaning if they cannot act for any reason, your EPA becomes invalid. Under an LPA, you can nominate multiple attorneys or replacement attorneys, protecting you across a range of circumstances.
It is also worth noting that your EPA will not cover your Health & Welfare decisions, such as the type of support you receive if you are ever unable to take care of yourself due to mental or physical incapacity. If you would like to retain some control over your care situation, it is advisable to consider a Health & Welfare LPA. A Health & Welfare LPA allows you to choose someone you trust to manage decisions relating to your care and can even give you a platform to offer guidance to anyone who fulfils this role.
Our qualified consultants can discuss these options with you to ensure that you are in the best possible position should the worst happen.