Permitting someone to act on your behalf
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to give someone else the legal authority to act on your behalf. There are several different types of Power of Attorney. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), previously called an ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’, allows your attorneys to make decisions for you when you no longer wish to, or when you lack the mental capacity to do so.
When making an LPA, you are permitting someone to act on your behalf when you are no longer mentally capable of making decisions on your behalf.
There are two different types of LPA:
Health and welfare
Property and financial affairs
A property and financial affairs LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions regarding your finances. This could include decisions about paying bills, operating your bank accounts or even selling your home.
A health and welfare LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions for things such as medical treatment, accepting or refusing types of health care, and whether or not you continue to live in your own home. You can also give your attorneys the power to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment for you. Your attorneys can be the same as those appointed under the property and financial affairs LPA.
If you decide not to make an LPA and subsequently lack the mental capacity to understand the nature and effect of the document, you may no longer be able to create an LPA. In those circumstances, if you are no longer mentally capable of dealing with your financial affairs, someone will have to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as what is called your ‘Deputy’. This process applies even if the person incapacitated is your spouse or registered civil partner.
To avoid the Court making decisions on your behalf, it is therefore beneficial to create an LPA because it allows you to decide in advance:
The decisions you want to be made on your behalf if you lose the capacity to make them yourself
The people you want to make these decisions
How you want the people to make these decisions