Lasting Powers of Attorney - Who would look after your financial affairs and health and welfare if you were incapacitated?
Have you ever thought about who you would want to make decisions for you if you became seriously ill or had an accident and how these decisions would be made?
This could happen at any time and without any warning. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which enables you to plan ahead and set out what you would like to happen should you become incapable of making decisions in the future.
A Power of Attorney is an important document and you should take care who you appoint as your attorneys as they should be trustworthy and of the appropriate skills to make the proposed decisions. You can appoint one or more attorneys who will be able to make decisions on your behalf. They could be a family member, friend or professional advisor. The attorney must consider your best interests when making a decision on your behalf. Before the attorney can act, the Lasting Power of Attorney must be signed and registered with the Office of Public Guardian.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney: -
1. Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney - This gives your attorneys the authority to deal with your property and finances, when you choose, and/or if you lack mental capacity.
2. Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney - This allows your attorneys to make health and care decisions on your behalf, if you lack mental capacity to do so yourself. This could include giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.
You can only make a Lasting Power of Attorney whilst you have the mental capacity to understand the scope and extent of the power.
If you lost capacity and have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney or an old-style Enduring Power of Attorney then it may become necessary for a relative, friend, social services or other professional to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed to make decisions on your behalf. You could potentially have someone making decisions for you who you would have not chosen and getting an Order can take many months and is very costly; adding stress to those closest to you. To avoid this, we recommend that you make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Burningham & Brown is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - SRA Number: 8000096