Benefits of an LPA
An LPA is a legal tool that allows you to give someone you trust the legal authority to act on your behalf, if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. Your LPA states clearly in writing how you wish your life to be managed, should you ever need them to act for you. Two main aspects of your life are involved: finance and welfare. There are two separate types of LPA, in case you want to choose different people to look after each of these areas.
The Financial Decisions LPA
This LPA deals with your money and property. This can include paying bills, checking your income from pensions, benefits and investments, and looking after your bank and savings accounts. Ultimately you may need to sell your house to pay for your care. A Financial LPA will grant your Attorney the necessary authority to do all this for you and can, with your consent, be used before you lose capacity, as this can be a very gradual process. You may well want and be able to make decisions but prefer that your Attorney handles the day to day contact with the various agencies on your behalf. The Financial LPA makes all this possible.
The Health and Care Decisions LPA
This document deals with a range of issues such as the medical treatment you receive, where you live, through to your diet and daily routine. This differs from the Financial LPA, in that Attorneys can only act on your behalf regarding your health and care after you have lost capacity. This LPA also specifically gives you the choice to decide in advance if your Attorney can give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment in accordance with your wishes, or whether that decision should rest solely with your doctors.
The Danger of No LPA
If you don’t have an LPA in place and then lose capacity, the situation can arise where no one has the legal authority to make decisions for you. If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you may have assumed that your spouse would automatically be able to deal with your bank account and pensions, and make decisions about your healthcare, if you lose the ability to do so. This is not the case. Without an LPA, they won’t have the authority. The only alternative then is for someone to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a Deputy, which takes months and costs a great deal more than an LPA. Deputies also must pay an annual fee to the Court of Protection and submit an annual report of their actions.