Appointing an Attorney - do you know your LPA options?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you (the donor) to authorise a person of your choosing, (the Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf. Many people have heard of Lasting Powers of Attorney but how do they work in practice, and what are the different types of LPA that you choose from?

Two Types of LPA are available

Health and Welfare LPAs concern decisions relating to medical matters, living arrangements, day-to-day care and the wider social well-being of the donor who has appointed an Attorney.

Most of us would want to be cared for by people we trust at times of vulnerability in our lives. This type of LPA allows an Attorney to make decisions only when the donor is no longer able to.

Property and Financial Affairs LPAs give the Attorney authority to decide and act in property dealings, bank account withdrawals or transfers, completing income and tax returns, claiming benefits and pensions as well as on wider financial matters. Managing financial affairs can be complex, and this LPA is used to protect the financial interests of the donor.

If you are a business owner you also need to consider who will look after your business if you lose capacity.  It is recommended that you have a separate LPA in place to deal with business assets.  You will also need to ensure that the company’s Articles of Association allow your Attorney to act in your absence.

Any decision made by an Attorney must be made in the best interests of the donor.

Will I Be Giving Too Much Control Away?

LPAs are important tools in protecting the interests of a vulnerable person, who may need to have decisions made on their behalf now or in the future. A donor can often be more reluctant to appoint a Health and Welfare Attorney than a Property and Financial Affairs Attorney, because welfare decisions can include deciding about their medical care and whether they should go into residential care.

If any concerns are raised about an Attorney’s actions, the Court of Protection can investigate and ultimately remove the Attorney, if necessary.

A donor is advised to appoint an Attorney whom they know and trust, such as a close relative or friend. With the right arrangements in place, LPAs can provide great peace of mind by ensuring that the donor has help when it is needed.

If no Attorneys are appointed and a person loses capacity, the alternative process of applying to Court to have a Deputy appointed is much more expensive and restrictive.

You should take timely and appropriate advice on the appointment of an Attorney and the types of restrictions that should be put in place to give you additional peace of mind.

Rachael Armstrong is a partner at VWV, a national law firm with a growing office and presence in Birmingham.  Rachael can be contacted on 0121 227 3726 or at rarmstrong@vwv.co.uk.

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