For many, age, disability or chronic illness brings with it a diminishing ability to make informed decisions about care, finances and other day to day choices. When this occurs, getting your voice heard can become increasingly difficult. One way to ensure that your wishes, and your best interests, are at the forefront of any decisions that are made on your behalf is to create a lasting power of attorney.
A lasting power of attorney, commonly referred to as an LPA is a legally binding document that allows you to appoint another individual, or individuals, to make decisions on your behalf, or to help you to make decisions. The thought of handing over so much control might be daunting, and so too might lasting power of attorney cost. But creating a lasting power of attorney early on in a progressive illness, or as you begin to find decision making harder is important. The reason for this is that to be legally binding, the LPA must be created while you still have the ability to make your own decisions; legally known as having the mental capacity to do so. You must also be over 18 to create a LPA. If you decide to go down this route, then the first decision you need to make is between the two types of LPAs that are available. The first is a health and welfare LPA; this deals with aspects such as your personal care and decisions regarding medical treatment. The second is a property and financial affairs LPA. This latter one deals with everything from paying your general household bills to making arrangements to pay for long term care. It is, of course, possible to create a LPA that covers both aspects. Which you need over the long term should be considered along with the cost of lasting power of attorney UK wide.
Once you have decided what you need the lasting power of attorney for, you need to decide who you want to act as your attorney. There are a few limits on who can take on the role; they must be 18 or over, and they must have the mental capacity to make the required decisions. The key thing to consider when appointing an attorney is that you have someone that you trust to put your interests first. It is helpful if they are good at looking after their own affairs, and they must be willing to take on the responsibility. You should also note that if you are in need of a financial LPA, the individual you choose cannot be bankrupt, or subject to a Debt Relief Order. If you decide to have more than one attorney, then you also need to decide whether they will make decisions separately or jointly. If you choose jointly, then all attorneys must agree before a decision can be made. It is possible to decide to have some decisions made separately, and others made jointly. For example, you may only require one person to make decisions about paying your daily bills, but require joint decisions on your long-term care and medical needs. While considering a solicitor to support you in creating your LPA, it is also a good idea to look into local solicitors for making a Will. This is also something else that you should do while you still have your full mental capacity, and Will solicitors can ensure that everything is legally binding and accurate.
While it is possible to make and register your lasting power of attorney yourself, it is always better to source expert advice and support with such an important document. Choosing a solicitor that has expertise in this area can make the whole process go more smoothly, and ensure that everyone involved is aware of their role and responsibilities under the LPA.
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