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When making a will, people often think about what will happen when they die, how their estate may be distributed, or who should look after their children. But, at Radshaw Solicitors, we always advise our clients to think about what would happen if you cannot make decisions about your finance and welfare. In other words, a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

Here are some common questions about LPAs.

What is Lasting Power of Attorney?

An LPA is a legal document that details who you would like to make decisions about your finances or health and welfare or speak on your behalf if you cannot due to ill health. The document is usually drafted by an experienced solicitor and checked, validated and registered by the Office of the Public Guardian. An LPA must be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian to be valid; a signature alone does not make it a legal document. The person making the LPA is referred to as the donor, and the people nominated are the attorneys.

How many types are there?

There are two different types of LPAs:-
· A Property and Affairs LPA – This takes care of financial and property decisions.
· A Health and Welfare LPA – This would take care of any medical decisions.
Each needs a separate application, and you can choose to have just one or both.

What kind of things would the health and welfare LPA cover?

The health and welfare LPA would ensure that things like the below are taken care of if you are unable to make these decisions – this is also known as a loss of mental capacity:
· Medical care
· Life-sustaining treatment
· Your daily routine
· If you need assistance with your care
· Where you live

What decisions can be made in a Property and Finance LPA?

This LPA can be used at any time and would include decisions about your finances or property:
· selling your home
· managing a bank account
· paying household bills
· collecting pensions or benefits

Can my next of kin make these decisions for me?

Unfortunately, not. Most people think that they can do so, especially when it comes to medical decisions; however, these choices require consent of the person involved, which is why it’s so essential to make this decision now. In terms of finances, even if you have joint bank accounts, mortgages, or other shared finances, it’s essential that you name an attorney to ensure that your share is accessible and supervised. Of course, you can name your next of kin as an attorney, as long as they are over 18 and not bankrupt.

Why do I have to do it now?

You cannot set up an LPA once you have lost mental capacity. Should you be in this situation, your family would have to apply on your behalf, which can be time-consuming and costly. An LPA should be seen as a decision that is made for your future while you are able. It’s a common misunderstanding that this is something you need to think of in later life or once in a situation where you need someone to make decisions on your behalf.

If you would like more advice or would like to make an LPA, please get in touch with one of our experienced team today.