If you lose capacity through accident or illness, either temporarily or permanently, your loved ones will require your legal authority to manage your affairs on your behalf.
At some point in your lifetime, you may find that you require the help of someone else to assist with your day-to-day tasks.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a nominated decision maker (an Attorney) to make certain decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Care Decisions; and
- Lasting Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions.
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An Attorney appointed under a Health and Care Decisions Lasting Power of Attorney can make decisions relating to:-
- Where you live
- Day-to-day care
- Consenting or refusing life sustaining treatment
An Attorney appointed under a Financial Decisions Lasting Power of Attorney can make decisions relating to:-
- Buying and selling of property
- Operating bank accounts
- Claiming benefits
You should nominate somebody you trust to act as your Attorney. It may be a sensible idea to appoint more than one Attorney to prevent the possibility of misuse of the power. You are also able to nominate a replacement Attorney. They can act in the event your chosen Attorney can no longer act.
You should not confuse Lasting Powers of Attorney with your Will; they are completely separate documents. Lasting Power of Attorney can be used during your lifetime but end on your death. At this time the Executors named in your Will take over from your Attorneys named in your Lasting Powers of Attorney.
If you lack capacity and do not have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place you may find that your assets, including joint assets, are frozen and Local Authorities and Medics make decisions regarding your welfare without consulting loved ones.
This will be until a time that your loved ones make an application to the Court for a Deputyship Order.
As you can imagine this is a costly and time-consuming process. However, it is avoidable by preparing the necessary legal documents in advance.
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