A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) enables you to appoint someone (an “Attorney”) to look after your financial affairs and property when you are unable to deal with them yourself. This could be because you are away or you are ill or even become mentally incapable due to an injury or an illness such as Alzheimer’s.
You can decide on who will deal with your affairs on your behalf and you can place restrictions on and give guidance to your Attorney(s) on how they should deal with your affairs. The LPA can be general and can allow your Attorney to act on your behalf in respect of all your property and financial affairs. Alternatively, you can restrict your Attorneys’ powers or create specific LPA’s which only deal with certain issues, such as your business affairs.
What decisions can the attorney make in respect of your financial affairs?
The decisions that your Attorney(s) can make include matters such as:
- Buying, selling or maintaining property including insurance and repairs
- Accessing, opening and closing bank accounts;
- Giving access to your financial information;
- Investing your assets;
- Dealing with your savings, benefits and tax affairs; and
- making gifts on your behalf to friends and relatives in specific circumstances etc.
Your Attorney(s) must act in your best interests and must follow a Code of Practice set up by the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Your Attorney must take into account your wishes, beliefs and views you have expressed in the past. The views of your family and any
other attorney you have appointed may also be taken into account. You are involved in all decisions as much as possible.
When can the attorney act?
An LPA relating to your financial affairs can be used as soon as it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, regardless of your mental capacity, provided there are no restrictions.
Whilst you are still mentally capable, you make decisions regarding your financial affairs yourself. Your appointed Attorney will carry out your wishes if you can not carry them out yourself or if you instruct them to deal with some matters on your behalf, provided you
have not restricted the power to be valid only if you lose mental capacity. If you have lost the capacity to make the decisions yourself, your appointed Attorney will make and carry out the decisions on your behalf.
As long as you are still able to make decisions on your own behalf, you can revoke an LPA at any time and you do not need to give a reason.