A Lasting Power of Attorney may not be something people consider until there is a need, but often by this point it is too late to set one up, leaving the more complex and expensive Deputyship as the only option.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows a trusted, nominated person (attorney) to make important decisions about your personal affairs on your behalf if you were to become mentally incapacitated through serious illness or injury, disability, stroke or dementia.
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, even if the person is a close relative such as a child or spouse, you do not have the legal right to step in and use their bank accounts, utility bills etc. You would have to apply to the Court of Protection to get a Deputyship order, which is costly and time consuming at a time which is often very upsetting and time-sensitive. If an LPA is in place ‘attorneys’ can step in when needed to handle their affairs.
Things to consider with a Lasting Power of Attorney in place
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be set up when the person involved (the donor) is mentally capable. Often at the point of need, such as someone going into hospital or residential care, their mental capacity may now not allow them to set up the LPA.
Illness or accident can result in physical or mental incapacity at any age and without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place your relatives can face long delays and expense in applying to the Court of Protection to take over your assets and finances, even if it is only temporarily.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney; one for dealing with a person’s property and financial affairs and the other for anything relating to their health and welfare. For business owners there is also the option to have a business attorney in place if they were temporarily unable to handle their business affairs.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is straightforward to set up, affordable and takes around 6 weeks to complete from initial meeting to registration. A Deputyship application by comparison can cost in the region of 10 times the cost of an LPA and takes around 6-8 months.