Covid 19 has emphasised the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney
It is generally when something uncertain that has happened in a person’s, or a loved ones life that they come to seek professional legal advice about Lasting Powers of Attorney. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to have Attorneys in place in the event that you have lost the ability, or mental capacity to make your own decision about life sustaining treat and general choices of treatment. With many individuals being affected by the Corona virus the importance of having legal documents in place is ever more imposing.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables an individual to appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions on their behalf. LPAs were introduced by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and replaced the old Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) from 1st October 2007
There are two types of LPAs:
- Property & Financial LPA; giving another person(s) authority to manage your property and financial affairs, with your consent whilst you have capacity, otherwise not until you have lost capacity to deal with your on finances. You can include a restriction so the Power can only be used in the future if you lack capacity.
- Health & Welfare LPA; giving another person(s) the authority to decide on your behalf (instead of healthcare professionals). This can include:
- Giving or refusing consent to particular types of health care, including medical treatment decisions.
- You staying in your own home, perhaps with the help and support of care at home.
- You moving into residential care and choosing the right care home for you.
- Day to day matters, like your diet, dress and daily routine.
- Life sustaining treatment – only if you specifically give your attorneys power to make these types of decision with the power of attorney itself.
How does an experienced solicitor help ensure donors and their families are protected when putting together an LPA?
It is a solicitor’s job to ensure that the best interests of the donor are protected when they create an LPA.
An experienced solicitor will work closely with the donor and their family when drafting and advising on an LPA. When instructing a qualified private client solicitor, you can expect:
- the solicitor to hand draft the LPA, after carefully listening to your requirements, as opposed to the document being created by computer software.
- advice on how to select your attorneys, including information on the qualities required and an honest evaluation of the capabilities and trustworthiness of the attorneys selected.
- information and advice provided to the attorneys about their duties, and the limitations on them set out in the LPA.
- guidance on the importance that the attorneys act in the best interests of the donor and advice as to how this is achieved.
- brief the Attorney on their task, responsibilities, the limitations of their authority and how to formulate ‘best interest decisions’.
Bennett Griffin LLP are award winning solicitors based in West Sussex with an office in central Worthing. Our experienced and specialist solicitors offer a comprehensive service and will work with you in an honest, considered, and practical manner. Our Specialist Power of Attorney Team can advise and assist you in relation to making an LPA. Give them a call on 01903 229999.
By Gema West, Associate Solicitor in the Private Client Department for Bennett Griffin