7. Lasting Power of Attorney

Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney? Most people, particularly when they are healthy, do not consider making a LPA because they can make their own decisions. However, an accident or illness can strike anyone which could result in a person losing his/her mental capacity and his/her ability to manage their personal affairs, whether these are to do with property and finance or health and welfare. A person could lose these abilities due to old age as well. If this happens, an application to the Court of Protection has to be made to get permission to handle the affairs of the person who has lost his/her ability to do these things personally. Even one’s spouse can not make decisions about the property and finance without the court order. This process could be slow and/or costly.

Between husband and wife, you could make a decision to hold all your assets jointly with the right for either one to access these without the other’s signature. This could assist with assets such as bank accounts. On the other hand, a person could make an LPA whilst still in full control of one’s mental faculties and appoint each other if married or someone else to make decisions relating to property and finance or health and welfare. Therefore, if the unexpected or unfortunate does happen and a person loses his/her mental capacity, then the person who is appointed as an attorney can make the decisions for him/her immediately without having to make a court application.

Warning: A Power of Attorney, whether an LPA or Ordinary, is an important document which gives powers to your appointed representative to do what you have authorised them to do exactly as if it was being done by you. Neither lawyers who prepared or witnessed the Power of Attorney or the person acting on reliance of the Power of Attorney can be held responsible for the actions of the person you have appointed as your attorney. Therefore a Power of Attorney must only be given to some you trust implicitly.

Full information is available from the website of the Office of Public Guardian. However, we can assist in advising, preparing and registering the LPA. If you wish to discuss further, please call Ram Bansal on 020 3118 2063.

Disclaimer: These notes are not a legal advice but only for guidance and no responsibility can be accepted for any reliance placed on them. By their nature, the Powers of Attorneys are specific for their purposes, subject to testator/principal's personal circumstances and subject to complex laws. Therefore, you must seek independent legal advice before making a Power of Attorney.