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Long-term illness or serious injury can affect your ability to make important decisions for yourself.

One way to ensure you are protected is to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney.

A Lasting Power of Attorney will appoint someone to act on your behalf if you need help making decisions in the future.

Having your affairs in order will help give you some peace of mind, should the worst happen.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more trusted people to make important decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself. It gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions in the future.

There are two different types of LPA: a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA.

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers financial decisions such as:

• Paying bills, including mortgage, rent and household expenses
• Buying or selling your home
• Opening, closing or operating any bank, building society or other accounts
• Collecting any income, pensions, benefits, inheritance or other entitlement
• Dealing with tax affairs
• Insuring, maintaining and repairing property
• Investing savings
• Making limited gifts
• Paying for private medical care and residential care, or nursing home fees

This type of LPA can also be used if you are out of the country or are physically unable to sign something. You can ask your attorney(s) to take appropriate action in your place. Your attorney(s) can only make the decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

A Health and Welfare LPA covers medical decisions including:

• Day-to-day personal care
• Deciding where to live or moving into a care home
• Holidays and outings
• Important decisions about terminal illness treatment and care

This type of Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used if you are unable to make these types of decisions for yourself.

The overriding principle of both types of LPA is that an attorney must always only act in your best interests.

How to apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney

To get an LPA, you must register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. You can complete the forms yourself, however it can be a complicated process. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a powerful legal document, so it is always best to seek assistance from a solicitor when completing the forms. This ensures all parties fully understand the implications of the documents and what the duties and responsibilities of an attorney are.

What to do if you’re unable to make a Lasting Power of Attorney

If your mental capacity is affected suddenly (e.g. if you are involved in a serious accident) and you are unable to make important decisions for yourself, the Court of Protection can appoint someone as a Deputy. The Deputy can be a family member or close friend, or even a professional, and they will be able be able to make decisions about your care and finances. However, the process of appointing a Deputy takes a long time and can be very expensive and we would advise that, if possible, you create a Lasting Power of Attorney while you are in good health in order to avoid any delay in being able to look after you if that time ever comes.

Contact our LPA experts

If you are looking for expert advice you can trust about LPAs, or any other legal issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our specialist Wills, trusts and estate planning team.

Whatever your situation, we offer a flexible approach and can tailor our services to meet your needs. We have particular expertise in serious personal injury cases involving significant compensation for brain and head injuries and harm due to medical negligence.

We can also help if you just want to get your affairs in order so that you and your loved ones are protected against the unexpected.

Give us a call today on Freephone 0800 884 0777 for a free, no-obligation chat or email: info@novumlaw.com