If you lose capacity either through an accident or illness such as a stroke or dementia, someone needs to act on your behalf to carry out your personal and financial affairs. If you lose the legal capacity to make decisions for yourself, your bank accounts may be frozen (even if it is a joint account)* until someone can be appointed to make decisions for you. This inevitably can cause a lot of distress for friends and family as bills cannot be paid and pensions or benefits cannot be accessed.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) specifically deals with the appointment of one or more people to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so.
There are two types of LPA; one to choose who can make financial decisions for you (LPA Property and Financial Affairs) and the other where you can choose who should make decisions about where you should live and medical treatments etc. (LPA Health and Welfare).
A Lasting Power of Attorney (Property and Financial Affairs) can cover:
- How your finances and property are managed;
- How your bills would be paid if you were unable to do this i.e. physically incapacitated or out of the country;
- How your assets would be dealt with i.e. selling your house to move to residential care.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (Health and Welfare) covers aspects such as:
- Giving or refusing consent to particular types of health care, including medical treatment decisions; or
- Deciding whether you continue to live in your own home or whether residential care would be more appropriate for you.
For more information on Lasting Powers of Attorney you can visit our FAQs page, or contact one of our consultants today.
*”Banking for people who lack capacity to make decisions”, The British Bankers Association, 2010