This reality is the reason why increasing numbers of British people are a making a lasting power of attorney (LPA) each year, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing that in 2015-16 726,000 people handed over control of their affairs to someone they trust. By the end of 2016, around 2.3 million LPAs had been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) by April 2017.
The law in England and Wales allows for two different types of power of attorney: a property and financial power of attorney and a health and welfare power of attorney. Formerly known as enduring powers of attorney, following the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, these were replaced with lasting powers of attorney which have to be registered with the OPG before they can be acted upon.
If you would like to discuss creating lasting powers of attorney with a solicitor based in Surrey, contact Wellers Hedleys today at one of our offices: Great Bookham, Effingham or East Horsley.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document giving someone else the power to act on your behalf in essential specified matters – for example, those relating to financial affairs, legal matters or care plans.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is made to ensure that you have contingencies in place in the event that you lose mental or physical capacity through accident, illness or cognitive or physical decline.
What is the alternative?
If you do not organise an LPA in advance you could be left with the inconvenience, stress and cost of trying to apply for the alternative: a ‘Deputyship Order’ at the Court of Protection. This is because the person creating the power of attorney (the Donor), cannot give power to the Attorney or Attorneys if they already lack mental capacity.
Remember, when you create an LPA you are ensuring that you will be represented by the person or persons of your choosing; with a Deputyship Order, the power, if granted, is given to the person who is applying.
Temporary or Lasting?
Power of attorney can be either ‘temporary’ or ‘lasting’, depending on the Donor’s circumstances. For example, a Donor may be incapacitated by an operation or short-term psychosis or may be incapacitated permanently by a traumatic accident or long-term health condition such as Alzheimer’s.
Do you Need to Create a Power of Attorney?
Everyone should consider making a power of attorney; however, the urgency with which you need to do so will depend on your age, health and financial situation. Even if you are relatively young and have no family history of dementia or incapacitating illness, it still makes sense to establish an LPA as a precautionary measure.
If you have more pressing reasons – perhaps you have recently been diagnosed with an illness or a health condition – you should consider creating a power of attorney as a matter of priority.
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
This type of LPA gives the nominated Attorney the power to manage the Donor’s financial affairs – for example, the management of investments, debts and bills.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
A Health and Welfare LPA gives the Donor the ability to dictate how they wish to be cared for in the event they lose mental capacity or lose the ability to physically communicate their wishes.
This could include preferences regarding where you live, dietary requirements, additional care support, medical treatment, and terms regarding consent or refusal of medical treatment.
A Social and Family Responsibility?
The UK’s population is ageing and increasing numbers of people are living longer, often to a point where they lose mental capacity. This is why, in recent years, the Government has campaigned to raise the profile of LPAs. It is also why the application process has been simplified.
Furthermore, on 1 April 2017 the cost of LPA applications was reduced from £110 to £82.
Wellers Hedleys, Solicitors for LPAs in Surrey
Wellers Hedleys has offices in Effingham (our main Surrey office), East Horsley and Great Bookham. If you would like to discuss the possibility of setting up a lasting power of attorney with experienced LPA solicitors in Surrey, contact us today.
We can also assist with setting up trusts, complex Will writing and probate services.