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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney

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21 July 2011

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets an individual appoint someone to make decisions about thier welfare, money or property. It allows for appointing someone trusted as an 'attorney' to make decisions on thier behalf. Attorneys can make decisions when an individual no longer wishes to or lacks the mental capacity to do so.

An LPA cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

What does 'lacking mental capacity' mean?

Someone can lack mental capacity if they have an injury, disorder or condition that affects the way their mind works. This could mean they have difficulty making decisions all of the time or that it might take them a long time to make a decision.

Why use a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An LPA can help plan how health, wellbeing and financial affairs will be looked after. It allows advanced planning to make decisions about:

the decisions to be made if the capacity to makes decisions are lost;

the people who are to make these decisions;

how these decisions should be made.

Having a Lasting Power of Attorney is a safe way of maintaining control over decisions made because:

it has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used;

someone provides a 'certificate', which means they confirm that the individual understands the significance and purpose of what they are agreeing to;

a choice can be made who gets told about the LPA when it is registered (so they have an opportunity to raise concerns);

all signatures must be witnessed;

an attorney must follow the Code of Practice of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and act in the best interests of the client;

the Office of the Public Guardian provides helpful support and advice.

There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney:

health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney;

property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.

Health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

A health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows an individual to choose one or more people to make decisions for things such as medical treatment. A health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used if the person subject to it lacks the ability to make decisions for themselves.

Property and financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

A property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney lets an individual choose one or more people to make property and financial affairs decisions for them. This could include decisions about paying bills or selling a home. An appointment of this nature can be made at any time. A condition can also be included that means the attorney can only make decisions when an indiviual loses the ability to do so themselves.

Lasting Power of Attorney forms are designed to be easy to complete. Depending on the situation however it is often a good idea to get advice from a solicitor before making a Lasting Power of Attorney. This can be useful if there are complicated personal, property or financial affairs to be arranged.

 Jane Coyle is a Solicitor and can be contacted at jane.coyle@lawdit.co.uk. Lawdit Solicitors is a commercial law firm based in Southampton with associate offices in London Malaga and Rome. Telephone 02380 235979


About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-08-04 16:51:53 in Legal Articles

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