Lasting Power Of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which allows you to select another person, or more than one person, to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your Property and Financial Affairs, or your Health and Personal Welfare, if you become unable to do so for yourself. There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney: Property and Finance and Health and Welfare. These are covered by two separate forms and so you can choose whether you wish to make one or both documents.
Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are many benefits to making a Lasting Power of Attorney as these can allow your most trusted friends, relatives and advisors to support you with decision making in the event that you become incapacitated in the future. A Lasting Power of Attorney authorises the people you choose to make decisions on your behalf and in your best interests. This means that your views can still be communicated and your bank accounts can continue to be accessed, should the worst happen.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is also the best environment to protect you whilst allowing those you trust to help with your affairs. It is never advisable for you to give out your bank card and PIN number, even to those you trust, and you should avoid adding third parties to your bank and savings accounts. Methods such as these can often be open to abuse and a Lasting Power of Attorney is likely to be a better option. You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney at any time when you have sufficient Mental Capacity to understand the document. It is advisable to consider making this document when you are fit and able to do so as we cannot tell what may be around the corner.
With people living longer, the chances of us all needing some form of care or support in the future is increasing and incapacity is not just something which can affect us in later life. Incapacity can occur without warning through illness, injury, accident, stroke or deterioration in mental health as well as older-age conditions such as dementia.
What decisions could be made under a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Finance can be used to make decisions such as whether or not to sell or rent out your property, making bill payments, making and selling investments for you and anything else which concerns your property and financial affairs. A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare can be used by your Attorneys only if you have lost mental capacity. Your Attorney could make decisions about where you live, what type of care you receive, who visits you, your diet, dress and daily routine and also, decisions about medical treatment you receive. You also have the option to include authority for your Attorney to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment, should you wish them to have this authority.
Who should be my Attorney?
You should take time to carefully consider who you wish to act as your Attorney(s) before making a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is because the powers they have under the documents can be far reaching and so it is important for you to choose someone who can handle the responsibility of making decisions for you and also, someone you trust to do so. You can choose as many Attorneys as you wish to be able to act for you but you should consider the practical implications of how they will act together. You retain control over your affairs by selecting not only who will act for you, but how they are to act together and any restrictions or guidance to place on the use of the document. Consideration should also be given in relation to whether your chosen Attorneys are capable of acting together and whether they have the time to dedicate to the role. (See Acting as an Attorney or Deputy).
Talk to Tollers
For some people, it is more appropriate to consider appointing an independent person or professional, such as a Solicitor, in order to avoid family conflict and for peace of mind in knowing that someone with a wealth of knowledge and expertise is acting for you. For more information, click here to read more about Professional Attorneyship and Deputyship.