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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Wills Trusts and Probate
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Director of Legal Services - Private Client
Powers of Attorney
You make decisions every day that affect you and those around you. From spending money to taking care of your health, these sorts of choices are often taken for granted. But when you can no longer make those decisions who can make them for you?
Our team of Wills, Trusts and Probate lawyers help customers put in place the right protections for the future by helping them make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
It is important to be aware that there are two types of LPA:
LPAs for Property and Financial Affairs allow you to appoint someone you trust to look after your financial affairs. You can choose whether this power can be used immediately after it has been registered, when you want help from your attorneys dealing with your bills and expenses, or you can decide that we hold the document until you want it to be used, or you can specify that it can only be used if you lose the capacity to deal with your finances. You can also appoint replacement attorneys who can step in if your appointed attorneys can’t act. We can advise you how the Lasting Power of Attorney can be drafted to include additional instructions or safeguards to re-assure you that your property and finances will be better protected from mismanagement.
LPAs for Health and Welfare allow you to appoint someone to put your wishes and views about your health and welfare to medical and care professionals when you cannot. The re-assuring point about this power of attorney is that it can only be used when you are unable to make the decision for yourself. Your Attorneys will be able to act for you in relation to all your health and welfare decisions, all the way up to life sustaining treatment if required. This document can be particularly helpful if you have strong wishes, that your Attorneys know about, regarding your care and every day living (for example you may have very strong views about being cared for at a particular care home).
Customers tell us that making these documents while you are fit and well puts their mind at rest, and for their family, it makes life much easier should mental incapacity ever arise. While we always hope that there will never be a need to call on an LPA, having it in place eases everyone’s fears for the future.
Our lawyers are sensitive to personal circumstances. They will advise you on the sorts of people you should consider appointing as your attorney or attorneys. They’ll also help you set out the best guidance so that the right decisions can be made about your property and possessions, finances and health and provide advice to your Attorneys about their duties.
Making an LPA gives you peace of mind when planning for the future, but if a friend or family member has already lost the mental capacity to deal with their own financial affairs, an LPA cannot be made and instead an application needs to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed.
EPAs were the predecessor to LPAs and could be created up until 1st October 2007, when the new LPAs were brought in. Whilst no new EPAs can be put in place, those already in existence before 1st October 2007 can still be used.
EPAs are quite different to LPAs and it is important to understand how they work if you or your loved one has an EPA in place.
Unlike LPAs, EPAs can only be used for property and financial affairs. There is no EPA for health and welfare. If you would like advice on how to deal with the health and welfare of a loved one who has an EPA in place, please contact us.
Importantly, if the person who made the EPA begins to lose capacity then their Attorneys must register the EPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). This is different to LPAs and the registration process can take a few months, so it is important to act quickly in registering the document.
If you are worried about a loved one losing capacity then our expert team at Brethertons can assist with the application to register the EPA. Our solicitors can also provide advice on how to act as an Attorney if needed.