Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) are used to give someone or more than one person the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. What makes them different from ordinary powers of attorney is that they can be used even after you have lost mental capacity. LPAs are an essential part of your estate or wealth planning and should be part of your toolkit for protecting your wealth. Many people do not realise that there you have the opportunity to limit or restrict the powers of the attorneys and they end up wasting the opportunity to put some controls in the LPA to protect themselves or their assets at a time when they no longer have the capacity to make decisions for themselves. Once you put in the restrictions you want to, the attorneys will have to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to circumvent your restrictions. That is why it is important to have professional advice when you are preparing your LPA especially if your estate is quite substantial. There are two types of lasting powers of attorney.
Lasting powers of attorney for health and welfare
This allows you to choose someone or more than one person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity. It can only be used after it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and after you have lost mental capacity. You can decide what decisions your attorneys can make for you. You can also limit their authority, give them instructions or state your preferences. You will also be able to decide if your attorneys will have the power to make decisions for you with respect to life-saving treatment.
Lasting powers of attorney for property and financial affairs
Choose someone or people to manage and make decisions regarding your financial affairs, including your property. Once it is registered, your attorneys can make decisions for you if you choose, even if you haven’t lost mental capacity. It may be that an accident or disability prevents you from doing your banking, or, you might have a lengthy stay abroad and you need to sign some financial documents. Your attorney can do all that for you if you say that they can use the lasting power of attorney before you lose mental capacity. You can decide the kinds of decisions they can make for you and put restrictions on their powers.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare AND Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs
Both types of LPAs should be included as part of your estate planning. Making them at the same time reduces the time and effort spent on each LPA. Why not get both and for a reduced price?
Business lasting powers of attorney
This is essentially a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs. However, for those who own a business or are directors of a business, it may be more appropriate to choose someone else to make decisions with respect to that business. That means you have to create a separate LPA for your business and appoint that person but restricting their powers to the kinds of decisions you need them to make in relation to your business affairs. You can choose what kinds of decisions they can make for you and whether they can only use the LPA if you have lost mental capacity. Sometimes it is appropriate that they should be able to use the LPA when you haven’t lost mental capacity. For example, during a long period of absence abroad, you may need your attorney to vote on your behalf at a board meeting. This is a very specialised area and it is important to have professional advice. It does require looking in detail at your company’s memorandum and articles and shareholder agreements and that is why it costs more than the normal LPA.
Not sure which LPA you need? If you need some help choosing, please click the button below to contact Remi and she will be pleased to guide you.