Lasting Powers of Attorney
LPAs allow you to proactively nominate someone you know and trust to act on your behalf if you need them to.
There are two types of LPA – financial, and health and welfare. You can appoint whoever you like to act as your Attorney, as long as they are over 18 and, in the case of financial LPAs, have not been made bankrupt. LPAs are often seen as being only for the elderly, but mental or physical incapacity can strike without warning at any age, so it’s important to get one in place before it’s too late.
Contrary to common belief, having a joint bank account is not a substitute for a financial LPA. In fact, if the bank finds out that one of the account holders has lost capacity, it can freeze the account. In some cases, the other account holder may even be subject to criminal proceedings if funds have been accessed – even if it is to pay for your care.
If you lose capacity before you get round to writing an LPA, your family can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed a ‘deputy’. However, these applications can cost up to £150,000 in solicitors’ fees, so getting an LPA in place can save a considerable amount of money.
Enduring Powers of Attorney: Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced the previous Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in 2007. EPAs made and signed before 1 October 2007 are still valid, but do not allow for health and welfare decisions to be made on your behalf.