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Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, is a way in which you can appoint a specific person to make decisions for you with regard to finances (a property and affairs LPA), and with regard to your health (a health and welfare LPA). This can be the same person, or different people. The LPA comes into effect when you can no longer make these decisions for yourself, perhaps because of an accident, or a debilitating illness.

The property and affairs LPA would be able to settle bills, collect income or benefits, and deal with the sale of your property. The health and welfare LPA could be called upon to make decisions regarding your medical care, or even whether you should be cared for in a home, and move out of your property. They can, in extreme cases, make literal life or death decisions for you – such as whether you should receive certain medication or continue on a life support machine. This will all be laid out on the LPA form that you will be required to fill in before any of the above can be put into action.

It is perfectly possible to restrict your chosen attorney, and only allow them to pay bills, for example, or to pay up to a certain amount. Perhaps you don’t want them to have to make life or death decisions, but would prefer them to simply assist in deciding whether or not you are capable of staying at home. As long as it is all written down on the correct form, and checked by a professional, then it is legal.

Once you have chosen your attorney, then the person’s name, and what you would require them to do, must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

You should think carefully before choosing someone to be your LPA. There are no restrictions (other than age; your attorney must be over 18), so when choosing you must be sure that they are trustworthy and have your best interests at heart. It should also be someone who would be able to carry out the tasks that you would be asking of them. They must also agree to becoming your LPA – this cannot be something you spring on them as a surprise! You can choose a friend or relative, or you can choose a solicitor to act for you. Be aware that solicitors will charge for this service.

If you aren’t sure whether appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney is the right course of action for you, or if you have any questions at all regarding the correct form, and where to register it, just contact us. We can help.

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