Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (‘LPAs’) can be made in relation to Property & Finances as well as Health & Welfare to allow a person, or people, to make decisions on behalf of the Donor (the person to whom the LPAs relate).
When contemplating whether or not to make LPAs, it can be easy to fall into the trap of putting off the decision to make them until a future date. For many, this will be when mental capacity begins to decline, perhaps as a result of getting older or potentially due to a medical condition such as Alzheimer’s. However, mental capacity can be lost suddenly, possibly as a result of being involved in a motor collision or from a sudden medical incident such as a stroke. When such events occur, it is not possible to make LPAs as they can only be made whilst a person retains their mental capacity.
When a person does not have LPAs in place, that person’s friends or family are left in a situation whereby they have to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order to allow them to make decisions on behalf of the person in question. This is a lengthy and costly process with no guaranteed result. Furthermore, the Court rarely appoints deputies for decisions concerning health and welfare.
It is currently taking approximately five months for the Office of the Public Guardian to register LPAs. Registration is required in order to allow the LPAs to be used once capacity has been lost. It is therefore not only important for LPAs to be made in advance of them being required, but they should also be registered in advance. This ensures that the documents are registered during a period when they are not required. Whilst this could mean that the documents lie dormant for many years (possibly even decades), they are available to be used immediately to make decisions on behalf of someone who has suffered a slow decline of their mental capacity, or for someone who has suffered a sudden loss of mental capacity.
Given the above, if you are considering making LPAs, it is advisable to seek advice concerning them sooner rather than later.
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