Dementia Action Week 2023
Things to consider when setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA)
Setting up an LPA is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out if you’re unable to make decisions for yourself.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf in the event you lose capacity to do so.
Figures from the Office of the Public Guardian, which registers LPAs, shows that in 2022, 848,896 LPAs were set up – up almost 20 per cent from the 712,316 registered the year before.
The increased volume of applications means LPA registrations are currently taking around 22 weeks to complete – so to take control of your future it makes sense to act now.
Every individual’s situation is different, and your LPA should reflect your specific circumstances. Below is a summary of the key factors you to take into account when setting up an LPA.
The scope of the LPA
There are two types of LPA: one covers property and financial affairs while the other relates to health and welfare. It’s important to choose the right type of LPA for the decisions you want to have made on your behalf. You can set up both types if you need to.
Choosing an appropriate attorney
It’s vital to choose an attorney you trust to act in your best interests, whether it is a family member, a friend or a solicitor. You can choose a different attorney for each type of LPA, and you can appoint more than one attorney for each LPA if you wish to.
If you choose more than one attorney for either one of your LPAs you can specify whether you want them to act jointly – in which case they must agree on all decisions – or jointly and severally, which means they can make decisions independently of each other.
What powers you want your attorney to hold
When setting up an LPA you can stipulate the powers you want to give your attorney. You will need to decide whether to give them general powers to make decisions about your affairs, or if you want to limit their powers to specific areas. For example, under a property and financial affairs LPA you may choose to give your attorney powers to deal with your bank account but not with decisions relating to your home.
Registering your LPA
To be valid, your LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. You can register it yourself, or your attorney – or your solicitor – can register it for you.
An LPA doesn’t have to be used straight away. Once registered, it can be used at any point with your consent, in the case of a property and financial LPA, or by your attorneys in the event that you have lost mental capacity.
This means you retain control over the decisions the LPA covers unless you no longer have the capacity to make them – with peace of mind that comes from knowing if this situation arises, the person or people you have appointed will act on your behalf.
Keeping you LPA up to date
It’s important to review your LPA regularly to make sure it still reflects your wishes. You can easily make changes at any time while you still have mental capacity.
Obtaining professional advice will uncover all the issues to need to consider when setting up an LPA.
At Lupton Fawcett our team of specialists in LPAs, wills, trusts and estates can help ensure the plans you put in place for the future give you peace of mind today.
If you would like more information about Lpa’s please speak to Charlene Villa, senior associate in our Wills, Trusts and Estates team.
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