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Private Client Law: Powers of Attorney Q&A (Part 2)

View profile for Valerie Robinson
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Q: What are the benefits of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)?

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to appoint individuals to manage your financial affairs should you e.g. decide that you do not wish to manage them yourself, or if you become incapable of managing them.

A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to appoint individuals to deal with more personal decisions for you, but under this LPA they can only ever make decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

In the Health and Welfare LPA you can also say whether your attorney/s should have the power to decide whether you should receive life sustaining treatment.

You are in control with who you would like to act as your attorneys

If you do not have LPAs in place and you lose mental capacity, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint an individual or individuals to manage your finances who might not be the person that you would choose. It is only in rare circumstances that the Court will appoint individuals to make decisions regarding your health and welfare. The benefit of having LPAs in place is that it avoids any uncertainty, delays and increased costs.

Q: What decisions can my attorney/s make under a Property and Financial LPA?

An LPA relating to your Property and Financial Affairs would allow your attorney/s to make decisions which include the following:-

Operating, closing or opening bank accounts;

Claiming and receiving benefits on your behalf;

Paying your household expenses; and

Paying for your medical treatment and/or care home fees.

Q: What decisions can my attorney/s made under a Health and Welfare LPA?

An LPA relating to your Health and Welfare would allow your attorney/s to make decisions which include the following:-

Whether you should stay in your home, perhaps with support from social services or other agencies;

Whether you should move to residential care or other care outside of your home;

Choosing the right type of accommodation for you should you need care;

Giving or refusing consent to certain types of healthcare including medical treatment;

Day-to-day issues such as; who visits you, your dress, diet and daily routine; and

Your attorney’s also have authority to formally raise any concerns about your care with a care home, hospital or social services.

Q: How many people can I appoint as my attorney/s?

There is no actual limit to the number of people that can be appointed, but we suggest no more than four.  To appoint more than four can lead to difficulties in getting documents signed quickly and efficiently. Most people appoint two attorneys.

Q: How should I choose who to appoint as an attorney?

Anyone over the age of 18 can be appointed although usually it would be a close family member or professional.  Given the nature of decisions being made by your attorney/s it is essential that you appoint individuals that you trust.  Your attorney/s will have complete control over your Property & Financial and/or Health & Welfare. 

From a practical point of view it is usually sensible to appoint someone that is younger than you.