What is it?
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs is a document which has to be set out in a certain form to comply with Government requirements.
It allows a person – called the donor – to appoint people who are trusted called Attorneys to manage their finances and property. This might be useful if they were ever in a position to be unable to look after them for themselves.
What does it cover?
If you as the donor were unable to manage your finances then you could give permission for your Attorneys to make decisions on some or all of the following:
- Manage your bank, building society accounts and any financial investments
- Pay your outstanding bills from your money
- Arrange for the sale of your property
- Make decisions on how any residential or health care should be funded
- And any other decision related to your finances or property.
When would a Property & Financial Affairs LPA be useful?
- if you suffered from a serious physical disability which prevented you from going to the bank
- if you contracted a debilitating illness which prevented you from physically being able to access your finances
- in later life, if you developed dementia and you needed care. This LPA would allow others to make decisions on the funding of your care
Can I wait to have one until it’s needed?
You could. But a Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made by you if you have the mental capacity to do so. If you do not have mental capacity at the time you need one then it will be too late. You nor anyone else cannot write one by law.
What would happen, then? Your loved ones would need to make an application to a body called the Court of Protection and apply for what’s known as Deputyship. This can be very costly, take a long time and only gives your loved ones limited powers.
So, although yes it costs money to arrange one now, its best think of an LPA as an insurance policy. If you’ve got one, it’s then ready to be used if unfortunately you need your Attorneys to act for you.
When I’ve signed it, can it be used straightaway?
Unfortunately not. All LPA’s must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The OPG place a special stamp on it, which then proves Attorneys have the authority by law to use it.
If an LPA has not been registered with the official stamp then no financial institution will work with your Attorneys.
The good news if you can register your LPA immediately if you wish. So, if in the future your Attorneys do need to take over either for a short time while you recover from an illness, or for a longer period of time, they already have authority to act for you.
Do I also need a Health & Welfare LPA?
The answer is ‘maybe’! Both Lasting Powers of Attorney do different things. Most people can see the real benefit of having one to cover issues such as financial affairs, but are not sure if there would be any benefit to a Health & Welfare LPA.
It’s important to note though that in certain situations, both are needed. For example, a Property & Financial Affairs LPA would allow Attorneys to make decisions on funding care, or to manage finances if a person was temporarily incapacitated. But they would have no power to decided WHICH care home, or what medical treatments to allow.
Those powers can only be given to Attorneys under a Health & Welfare LPA> For more information on Health & Welfare LPA’s click here.
Substantial savings can be made by buying both together from Phoenix Wills & Probate!
It always comes down to cost. Purchasing an LPA has a cost, as does registering the document with the Office of the Public Guardian. But better to be safe than sorry. Having a registered LPA will allow your Attorneys to step in as needed.
Contact us to write your Lasting Power of Attorney today. We provide balanced impartial advice and can register your Lasting Power of Attorney for you as well.