Solicitors in Westminster, London
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Before October 2007 you may have put in place an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). These documents can no longer be created but existing EPAs are still perfectly valid.
They only cover your financial affairs and do not have to be registered with the Court (the Office of the Public Guardian) in order to be used. They do however have to be registered if an attorney believes the donor has lost or is losing capacity.
EPAs were replaced with Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and these allow you to choose who you would want to make decisions on your behalf if you ever became incapable of making decisions for yourself. Whoever you nominate, and you can nominate more than one person, would act as your attorney(s).
There are two types of LPA, one for your property and financial affairs and one for health and welfare decisions.
A property and financial LPA can be used for most financial purposes such as access to bank accounts, liaising with pension providers and can even be used to sell your property. You can, if you wish, allow your attorney to make decision on your behalf whilst you have capacity, if, for example, you need help in managing the more complex aspects of your finances.
A health and welfare LPA is used for health and medical treatment decisions and can only be used if you no longer have capacity to make decisions for yourself. Your attorney will be able to liaise with care home staff and doctors and make decisions concerning where you should live and what medical treatment you should receive. This can include the power to make decisions about whether you should receive life sustaining treatment.
For both types of LPAs you can include restrictions as to the powers your attorneys have and guidance as to how you would want them to act when making decisions on your behalf.
LPAs have to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) in order for them to be used. The registration fee for this is £82 per document and the process would usually take between 8-10 weeks. If you do not have LPAs in place, and lose capacity, having someone appointed to make any type of decision on your behalf can be a very long and costly process and you would not get to decide who would be making those decisions for you.
To find out more about powers of attorney please contact one of our specialist lawyers by email or call us on 020 7222 5381