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Do I need a lasting power of attorney?

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Why you might need a lasting power of attorney

It is unpleasant to think that you may ever lose the ability to manage your own affairs. However, by creating both a 'lasting power of attorney – health and welfare' (LPA-HW) and a 'lasting power of attorney - property and financial affairs' (LPA-PA) you can ensure that if this should ever happen, your financial affairs and personal welfare will be looked after by someone you trust.

If there is no lasting power of attorney

There are occasions when the lack of a lasting power of attorney (LPA) can cause problems that could have been easily avoided. For example, you may have had a stroke and been advised that you cannot return home to live on your own any more. A nursing home may have been suggested as the best solution. Unfortunately, your family will have great difficulty in selling your house if you are unable to give the necessary instructions for sale and eventually sign the contract. If an LPA-PA exists, then the attorney can sign on your behalf, thus ensuring that these issues are dealt with promptly.

Deputies

If you become mentally incapable and have not appointed an attorney, your finances may be frozen until the Court of Protection (COP) appoints a deputy. A deputy is someone appointed by the COP with ongoing legal authority as prescribed by the COP to make decisions on behalf of the person who lacks capacity (under the old system of enduring powers of attorney, this position used to be known as a 'receiver').

The appointment of a deputy may take some time and in the meantime, your bills might not be paid and your affairs may not be looked after. In addition, there are official fees to be paid that exceed the fees that would be paid to register an LPA.

For more information see the article on What is a deputy?

More information

You can find out more about the LPA-PA and the LPA-HW by reading the article on Lasting power of attorney. Although you may not have heard of the LPA, you may have heard of the enduring power of attorney (EPA). Since 1 October 2007, the EPA was replaced by the LPA. You can no longer create an EPA, but if it was created and signed before 1 October 2007, you may still register it when this becomes necessary.