By Kate Edwards of Wace Morgan Solicitors, Shrewsbury
Preparing for old age or possible illness is something many of us consider, but few of us act upon until later in life.
The fear of what may happen to our health, welfare and finances if we become incapacitated is a very real one but one that can be allayed in part by drawing up a ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ (LPA).
Wace Morgan Solicitors has extensive experience in this area of the law.
The LPA ensures that people you trust can take important decisions on your behalf if you become mentally or physically incapable of doing so for yourself. It replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) in 2007.
While LPAs usually deal with the affairs of the elderly, they can give the same protection in the event of incapacity as a result of illness or accident but do not restrict your right to control your affairs for as long as you feel able. The appointment of an attorney means that there is someone to take over if, and when, you cannot cope.
There are two types of LPA: a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA, which could also extend to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life-sustaining treatment and can only ever be operated if you have lost capacity to make a decision yourself.
Your attorney will only be able to act once the LPA has been signed by you and them and certified by a suitable person that you have not been pressured into making the power. It also has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and an attorney cannot, without authority from the Court of Protection, make a Will for you.
If you do not have an LPA and you lose capacity to manage your affairs, those closest to you may have to apply for a court order to assist you, which can be time consuming and expensive and the court will normally appoint a single person who may not have been your choice.
Wace Morgan is a member of the national group of LawNet firms, committed to specialist training and quality service in the area of private client work, which includes LPAs. Making an LPA through a LawNet Solicitor means that you will receive expert help and a high quality, value for money service.
Kate can be contacted on 01743 280100.
This article first appeared in the January - March 2012 edition of In The Know magazine.
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