This is the first tool that you should have in your armoury of things that will help you plan for your future.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to appoint someone to make decisions for you, during your lifetime, if you can no longer make those decisions for yourself.
Lasting Power of Attorney were introduced by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which came into force in 2007.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one covers property and financial affairs, the second covers health and welfare decisions. Both are vital to have if you want to ensure that you have control over who might be able to make decisions for you and about you.
You need to be over the age of 18 to make a Lasting Power of Attorney and you must have mental capacity (that is the ability to understand the Lasting Power of Attorney and its effects and implications). There are safeguards built into the process of making an Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that you are not being unduly influenced or coerced when making it.
You can appoint one or more attorneys, but they must also be over the age of 18 and not bankrupt. The major consideration though is that you trust them. You are giving them a great responsibility and you must be absolutely sure that they are the right person for the job.
A Lasting Power of Attorney has to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it is a valid document. Again this is there as a safeguard as the Office of the Public Guardian then have a duty to supervise attorneys. They can also be a very good source of guidance for your attorneys. Another good source of guidance is the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice.
If you would like to find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please speak to a member of our team.
You can also download our guide to read more about the process of making a Lasting Power of Attorney: Lasting Powers of Attorney guide
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