Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives someone else (the attorney) the ability to manage your (the donor’s) estate.

Why Would Someone Need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Someone who lacks mental capacity is a person who can no longer make decisions for themselves. Whilst most of us do not want to think about this, the reality is that many people find themselves in this position later in life.

A power of attorney gives you choice.

It allows you to appoint friends or family to oversee your finances whilst you still have the ability. Without a lasting power of attorney in place, it will be up to the courts to decide who will make decisions on your behalf when you no longer can.

The Two Types of Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two distinct types of lasting power of attorney, and it is common for solicitors to draw up both of these documents together. However, either can be created individually should you so choose.

The first is the lasting power of attorney for health and welfare. Here, you would appoint an individual (or a number of people) to make decisions regarding your medical needs, future care, and end of life treatments. This is distinct in that it can only be used once you lack the capacity to make decisions for yourself.

The second is the lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs. As the name suggests, this would allow the attorney to deal with your finances, including your bank accounts and pension. It would also allow them to arrange the sale of your home. This option would come into force immediately, providing you have given your permission.

Who Can Be An Attorney?

Anyone over the age of 18, with mental capacity, can act as your attorney, and individuals often choose their children, siblings or partners. There is no limit on the number of attorneys you can have, and it is common for individuals to appoint multiple people to oversee their affairs.

You can also choose to appoint a solicitor to act as your lasting power of attorney. This is an excellent way to avoid family disputes and any potentially uncomfortable situations. Solicitors are under a legal duty to act in accordance with your best interests.

It is important the person you appoint fully understands and appreciates the role they are taking on, and we would always advise they take a few days to think through the situation before accepting.

Can I Cancel a Lasting Power of Attorney?

First, there are many reasons why a lasting power of attorney would be automatically revoked. These include:

  • Where the attorney no longer has mental capacity
  • Where the donor and attorney divorce
  • Where the donor or attorney dies

However, a lasting power of attorney can still be ended where it falls outside of this remit.

Providing that you as the donor still retain mental capacity, you must issue a ‘deed of revocation’, which will revoke the existing legal document. Should you wish to simply remove one of the individuals from the power of attorney, you can submit a partial deed of revocation.

How Roper James Can Help

Please be aware that the information in this article is intended to give you an overview of what a lasting power of attorney is, rather than provide legal advice.

Our head of Wills and probate, Mel Cotterill, has over 15 years of experience as a chartered legal executive, as is our lasting power of attorney specialist. She handles every client with the utmost respect, patience, and confidentiality.

For an informal chat or to arrange an appointment to discuss implementing a lasting power of attorney, contact Roper James on 01752 546448 or enquiries@roperjames.co.uk.

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