What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document where you (the Donor) appoint an Attorney to look after your affairs and to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. This may be due to an accident, disability, or the onset of an illness such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia or after suffering a stroke. The document can be “registered”, which upon confirmation from the court – the LPA is in effect and provides immediate cover should it be required. The document can also be “unregistered” which means that whilst you have agreed who should handle your affairs should the need arise – you have not chosen to inform the court at this time. Should the need suddenly arise, the document can be sent to the court and in most circumstances the court will approve is around 6-8 weeks time.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:-
Property and Affairs – this allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs. This can include your property, your bank accounts and related assets.
Personal Welfare – this allows you to appoint someone to look after you and your personal welfare and healthcare.
A Cautionary Tale:
A client came to see me because his wife had had a catastrophic stroke. There was no warning or previous medical concerns – it just happened. Their accounts were jointly held but the bank had restricted access to them as one of the account holders lacked capacity. The client asked me to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney for his wife. Unfortunately I had to explain that it was too late as she already lacked capacity. The only option for the client was to apply to the court for a deputyship order. So we made the application, he paid my fee, the court costs, for an independent mental health capacity assessment, and an insurance bond to the court – grand total £2700. Seven months later the court appointed him as a deputy.