By having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place it will be YOU who decides who will deal with your affairs if you lose capacity and YOU will have more control over when your attorney will take over your affairs.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney.
LPA for Property and Financial Affairs
This is used for dealing with everyday financial affairs. For example, collecting benefits, paying bills, investing money, buying or selling property and generally looking after the financial affairs of the donor (you). This LPA can be used when you have lost mental capacity, but also when you still have mental capacity but are physically incapacitated and are unable to write cheques, make phone calls or go to the bank for example.
LPA for Health and Welfare
This is used for care and medical decisions. It gives one or more trusted persons the legal power to make decisions regarding your health and welfare. Your Attorney can make important decisions for example, refusal of medical treatment, where you are cared for and the type of care you receive. This LPA can only be used when you have lost mental capacity.
LPAs are designed to be recognised by financial institutions, care homes and local authorities, as well as tax, benefits and pension authorities. It is a good idea to not only arrange the LPAs but also to complete an advanced directive or “living will” at the same time so that your chosen Attorney’s are fully aware of all your wishes well in advance of the powers being needed to be used.
Lasting Powers of Attorney have to be drafted whilst you still have mental capacity. If you do not have an LPA and lose capacity then it is too late and a deputy will have to be appointed by the court.
You can either register your LPAs now or hold them until you or your chosen attorney thinks you need them and then register them at that time. The benefit of doing this is that it avoids having to pay £110 to register a Power with the Office of the Public Guardian now, (£440 for a couple having 2 powers each), that might never actually be needed or could be exempt from registration fees altogether in the future.