Lasting Powers of Attorney or LPAs are designed to hand over control of finances when someone is no longer capable of managing their money themselves. It’s wise to produce Lasting Powers of Attorney whilst you still have mental capacity, as the process can be expensive and complex if you become unable to make such decisions for yourself before you have had the document produced. Once an LPA becomes valid, an appointed person such as a friend or family member can access your finances on your behalf.
Your representative should only be able to make financial decisions for you whilst you are unable to make them. For instance, if you are in a coma but later wake up, you will normally revert to making the decisions yourself. LPAs are often used when someone has dementia and is no longer deemed capable of managing their financial affairs themselves.
The two types of LPA
There are actually two types of LPA, which are finance and property LPAs and health and welfare ones. With a health and welfare LPA, a nominated individual makes decisions about daily healthcare and medical treatments and will liaise with health and social care staff. Some people assume that a trusted person will have control over their health affairs if they have been named in a finance and property LPA, but this is not the case, and the two forms are entirely separate, though combined POAs are available in Scotland. The health and welfare LPA can only be used when the person loses capacity, but the finance and property one can be activated as soon as the person who the document relates to says so.
The risk of DIY LPAs
Some people have used online tools to set up DIY LPAs without professional legal advice, but this is extremely risky, and you could make the document invalid if you don’t have sufficient knowledge of the area and the laws around it. You may then need to spend excessive amounts of time and money on putting things right. This means it’s very wise to get legal assistance immediately when LPAs need to be drawn up.
No minimum age for LPAs
There are many reasons why people may lose mental capacity, which is the ability to make important decisions. They may have a brain injury, dementia, a learning disability, a stroke or be hurt in an accident. The law says someone is lacking in mental capacity if they cannot understand information relevant to a decision, communicate decisions or retain the information related to the decision long enough to make it. There is no minimum age for when LPAs should be drawn up, as people can lose capacity at any point, especially if they are involved in accidents.
Need professional help?
At Nicholls Brimble Bhol, we have vast experience when it comes to helping people draw up LPAs. We offer a compassionate, understanding and highly-professional approach designed to ensure all concerned are comfortable and satisfied with the documents that have been drawn up. Contact us on 0333 016 1100, through the website or via email@example.com for more information.