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Now is the time to make a Lasting Power of Attorney

This article appeared in the Winter 2009/2010 edition of Retired & Living in Sheffield magazine.

LPA Many people are concerned about what will happen to them in the event of losing mental capacity through such illnesses as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or a stroke. The Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document, introduced in 2007, in which you can nominate someone to deal with your affairs. The idea behind the introduction of the Lasting Power of Attorney is that even someone with reduced mental capacity should still be able to exercise some control over what happens to them.

By setting up an LPA in advance you are able to choose someone you trust to deal with your affairs. If you do not have an LPA, and later lose mental capacity, then someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become entitled to manage your affairs and this may not be the person you would have chosen yourself.

You can set up an LPA so that it only activates once you are medically diagnosed as having lost mental capacity.

It is possible to appoint more than one person to be your attorneys. You can nominate them to make decisions jointly or you can give certain decision making abilities to each of them.

There are two types of LPA available, each with different powers, and you can tailor make an LPA to suit your requirements. The LPAs available are:

Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

A Property and Affairs LPA gives someone the authority to deal with your finances such as receiving income and benefits, dealing with banking and general finances and handling your property, including buying and selling.

A Property and Affairs LPA can be set up to be used immediately or only after the donor loses mental capacity.

Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

A Personal Welfare LPA is different in that it can only take effect after the donor’s loss of mental capacity.

A Personal Welfare LPA enables the attorneys to make decisions about your personal healthcare and welfare. This can include giving consent to or refusing medical treatment, deciding whether you continue to live in your own home or go into residential care, and your day to day care if you are already in a care home.

An option also exists to give your attorney the power to make decisions about ‘life sustaining treatment’, although this section is something that you have to explicitly authorise when you set up the LPA.

Attorneys have a duty to act in the best interest of the donor at all times and certain legal restrictions are in place to limit what they are able to do.

Lasting Powers of Attorney can be complex and legal advice should always be sought.

Follow this link for more information on Lasting Power of Attorney.

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