As we grow old it can be more difficult to manage the day to day decisions we all have to make. There is an option for us to consider when we get to that time in our lives though and it is called a Lasting Power of Attorney.
There are two types of lasting power of attorney available and they are:
health and welfare; and
property and financial affairs
Although there are two types of power of attorney, you do not need to choose just one, you can decide to implement both.
In all cases however, the powers must be registered before you lack mental capacity. They cannot be prepared after the event.
Health and Welfare Power v Advance Decision
The health and welfare power should not be confused with an advance decision or “living will”. The advance decisions is a document that allows you to make specific advance decisions in specific circumstances when you lack capacity for example when you are unconscious or cannot speak following an accident. The Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is far more generic.
There are numerous other differences between the two, some of them being quite subtle. Please see the further article for more clarification.
Health and Welfare Power
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives one or more trusted persons the legal power to make decisions about your health and welfare if you lose metal capacity. The person who grants power is known as the ‘Donor’ and the person appointed to make decisions is the ‘Attorney’.
Your Attorney can make decisions about anything to do with your health and welfare such as:
refusing medical treatment
where you are cared for and the type of care you receive
day-to-day things like your diet, dress and daily routine
The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, like the Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and subject to more stringent administrative requirements before it is valid compared to an Advance Decision.
Property and Financial Affairs Power
A property and financial affairs power allows you to share the responsibility of your financial affairs with someone you trust. This will be particularly beneficial if you are struggling with the day to day responsibility of making sure your bills are paid on time, that your benefits are collected or perhaps the process of selling your home if you are downsizing or moving into a residential home or sheltered accommodation.
In order to give a property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney to someone, you should consider whom you want to appoint. You need to trust that your attorney will act in your best interests. Once you have made this decision you will need to complete the correct forms and register your Lasting Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian. You will also need to be over 18 and have the capacity to make your own decisions.
Arranging one or both Lasting Power of Attorney instructions may help you to feel secure that your wishes in the future will be honoured and that you are protected.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
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