A Lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a very important and useful document to have in place for anyone, not just the elderly.
What is an LPA?
The government website defines an LPA as: “a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).”
Two types of LPA
The two different types are the Health and Welfare LPA, and the Property and Financial Affairs LPA. Both are important to put in place and plan for different areas of your life.
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney lets you appoint an attorney or several attorneys to make financial decisions on your behalf. An attorney is a trusted friend or family member who you can rely on to act in your best interest in terms of any financial decisions that you may not be in a position to make yourself.
As well as managing finances, your attorney is able to make decisions concerning buying and selling your property, paying your bills, managing your bank and savings accounts and investments. Your attorney is inhibited from using your money for their own benefit.
Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney enable your appointed attorney(s) to make decisions about your health and medical care if you become mentally incapacitated. This type of LPA also lets your attorney(s) make decisions about where you should live and life sustaining treatment, and also covers decisions about what you should eat and who should have contact with you. Your Health and Welfare attorney(s) can only make these types of decisions for you if you are deemed to lack capacity to make the particular decision yourself.
Should I have an LPA if I’m married?
Yes! Just because you are married or in a civil partnership does not mean that your spouse will be able to make decisions for you if you were to lack capacity in making your own decisions, and vice versa. Many people, incorrectly, presume that if they are married their husband or wife will automatically have the ability to handle their finances and make important decisions for them concerning their health care.
The only way they can do this is if they put LPA’s in place and name you as their attorney.
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