Life can be unpredictable. We insure our homes, not because we are expecting to be burgled or suffer a burst pipe, but “just in case”. We know it is wise to be prepared for the unexpected.
Perhaps we have an idea of what may lie ahead – because we have an ongoing health issue, or have been given a recent diagnosis of an illness such as Alzheimer’s disease.
If we lose the ability to make our own decisions, we want to be sure that the right people can step in and make the best possible decisions on our behalf, and that they will be listened to.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows us to appoint the people we trust most (our attorneys) to step in and make decisions for us – in our best interests – if we lose the capacity to make decisions for ourselves.
There are two different types of LPA:
We can appoint one or more people as attorneys with authority to manage our property and finances, should the need arise.
It is possible to download an LPA form from the government website and complete it without input from a solicitor.
We recommend that anyone considering making an LPA has advice from a specialist solicitor. Most people seek advice before making a will. Yet a will only takes effect on death, when we are no longer around to suffer the consequences.
A financial LPA can give an attorney authority that extends over all our financial affairs – the same property covered by our will – but during our lifetime, when the attorneys’ decisions can potentially change the course of our lives.
It is so important to get it right – and trust is key.
We will guide you through the process of making an LPA. Our aim is to ensure you can be confident that the LPA will be effective, and importantly, that you are protected from financial risk.
Health and care decisions
Welfare (or health and care) attorneys can only step in and act if you lack the capacity to make a specific decision yourself.
They can make decisions about:
- medical treatment
- where you live
- the type of care you receive
- what you eat, how you dress, and your daily routine
The attorneys’ decisions on these matters can be literally life transforming. It is most important to appoint the right people and carefully consider the extent of their authority.
In particular, you need to choose whether or not to allow our attorneys to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment.
If you do not have a health and care LPA, and you lose the ability to make your own decisions, then usually the local authority or the medical profession steps in and acts as decision-maker. You may prefer to appoint people you trust and who understand you well – to act as attorneys, and so to avoid the state making decisions on your behalf.
We can advise you on the benefits of making a health and care LPA and guide you through the process, to ensure your attorneys have the right powers, and you are properly protected.