Lasting Powers of Attorney: Plan for the unexpected

Although no-one likes to think about it, there may come a time when you need someone to make decisions for you, or to act on your behalf. This could just be temporary, for example, if you are in hospital and need help with day-to-day issues, such as paying your bills; or it could be on a more permanent basis, for example, if you are diagnosed with Dementia.

Whilst many people are aware of the importance of making a Will, considerably less people know that they should also consider preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you (the ‘donor’) to give authority to a third person (the ‘attorney’) to make certain decisions on your behalf. A Lasting Power of Attorney is used in the event that you are unable (or sometimes even when you simply do not wish) to make certain decisions yourself.

What decisions can my attorney(s) make?

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:

1.  Property and Financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

This allows your attorney(s) to make decisions on matters such as paying your bills, running your bank and savings accounts, making or selling investments and buying or selling your property. This type of Lasting Power of Attorney can be used whilst you still have capacity, for example, if you are in hospital and needed someone to handle your affairs.

2.  Health and Care Lasting Power of Attorney

This allows your attorney to make decisions about the type of health care and medical treatment you receive, including life sustaining treatment, where you live, and day-to-day matters such as your diet and daily routine. Importantly, this type of Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used when you have lost capacity to make your own decisions.

You can prepare either or both types of Lasting Power of Attorney together. Before your document(s) can be used, each one will need to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian.

Who can I appoint as my attorney?

You can choose to appoint anyone as your attorney, provided that they are over the age of 18 and are not bankrupt: your spouse, child, relative, friend or even a professional - such as your accountant or solicitor.

You can choose up to four attorneys, as long as you are confident that they will be able to work together. It is crucial that you trust whoever you decide to appoint as your attorney(s) to make all decisions in your best interests. 

What is the alternative?

If you have not prepared a Lasting Power of Attorney and become mentally incapacitated, your loved ones may face long delays and expenses when applying to the Court of Protection to gain access and take control of your assets and finances. Crucially, by this stage, you will have no control over who will be able to make decisions for you.

Krystal Garnett (LLB Hons), Solicitor, Thomson Hayton Winkley Solicitors
Krystal is a Full Accredited Member of Solicitors for the Elderly, having attained the requisite post-qualification experience and having completed both SFE accredited Awards - the SFE Older Client Care in Practice Award and the SFE Older Client Law in Practice Award.

If you would like more advice about preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney,
or other ways in which you can plan for the future,  please telephone Krystal on 015394 46585 or email krystal.garnett@thwlegal.co.uk

Thomson Hayton Winkley

Thomson Hayton Winkley solicitors are one of the largest firms in the South Lakeland region with offices in Windermere, Kendal and Crooklands. From individual to corporate, from property to personal, as professional solicitors Thomson Hayton Winkley have specialists in most legal fields who will work with you carefully, conscientiously and cost-effectively, every step of the way.
http://www.thwlegal.co.uk/