Lasting Powers of Attorney, also known as living wills, are documents that allow you to appoint people to make decisions on your behalf if ever the time should arise that you are mentally incapable of doing so.
In advance of this event, be in through old age or an unfortunate accident, you can choose people to look after your affairs in two main areas – Property and Finance and Health and Welfare.
Without any such provisions in place at a time that is already going to be difficult for your loved ones, they will be unable to make crucial decisions on your behalf without having to endure a long and arduous process. This involves applying to the Court of Protection for Deputyship to be given permission to do certain thing – including accessing joint bank accounts!
What types of LPAs are there?
Health and Welfare
Whoever you choose to be your Health and Welfare Attorney has the power to make many decisions on your behalf, such as what care home you go into, medical care and things like what you like to eat or whether you prefer baths to showers. Crucially, however, you can also choose to give permission to allow the Attorney to accept or refuse life sustaining treatment should you ever be in the position where you need it.
Property and Finance
Your Property and Finance Attorney makes decisions on whether or not to sell your home, how to proceed with any investments you may have and paying your bills. They also can collect benefits on your behalf.
Both LPAs are more comprehensive that previous versions such as Enduring Powers of Attorney, which only covered financial matters.
Who can be my attorney?
We would always suggest that you choose someone close to you, be that family or friend; someone that you can trust to always make decisions on your behalf with your best interests in mind, thinking about what you would choose to happen if you were able.