Powers of Attorney
In these uncertain times of COVID 19, you may be unable to manage your own affairs as you would normally, either because you cannot go out, or receive visitors, or you are unwell. How might someone else be able to help you with financial or medical matters?
The answer is a registered Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), and it can be made at any time if you have mental capacity. It is called an LPA because it continues to be effective if you lose mental capacity.
It allows you to choose up to 4 people (attorneys) to act for you. They should be people you trust, who have suitable skills. They could be relatives, friends or professionals.
There are two types of LPA, one for property and financial affairs and one for health and welfare matters.
An LPA is made by completing a form which is then signed by you, a certificate provider and the attorneys. The certificate provider could be the lawyer who draws up the LPA for you, or someone who has known you for at least two years, or a medical professional. The LPA must then be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian, which takes several weeks.
We recommend making a general power of attorney for use while the LPA is being registered.
If you already have an LPA, check that is registered.
Once registered, if you have mental capacity, you can instruct your attorney to deal with your property and financial affairs as you wish. If you lack capacity, the attorney would make decisions in your best interests. The health & welfare LPA can only be used if you cannot make your own decisions.
If you have an EPA it remains valid for property & finance decisions. You may wish to make a health and welfare LPA to sit alongside your EPA.