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What Is A Lasting Power Of Attorney? (LPAs)

Updated: May 27

Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) allow you to appoint trusted individuals to act on your behalf. But is it necessary? Read on to discover the benefits of having an LPA.

What Are Lasting Powers of Attorney?

LPAs empower your chosen representatives to make decisions for you if you lose the ability to do so. Mental incapacity means being unable to make decisions independently, whether due to an accident causing temporary impairment or a long-term condition like Alzheimer’s.

It’s important to note that needing more time to make or communicate decisions doesn’t equate to a lack of mental capacity. Some individuals can make certain decisions independently but may require assistance with more complex matters, such as financial decisions. An LPA ensures that trusted individuals can make these decisions, giving you greater control over your future.

Types of LPAs

  1. LPA for Financial Decisions: This type covers managing property, paying the mortgage, investing, and handling bills. It can be activated while you still have mental capacity or only after you lose it. You can also specify the scope of your attorneys' powers, either restricting their actions or allowing them full control.

  2. LPA for Health and Care Decisions: Unlike financial LPAs, these only become effective once you lose mental capacity. Your attorneys can make decisions about your medical care, diet, living arrangements, and social interactions. You can also leave specific instructions regarding life-saving treatments.

By setting up both types of LPAs, you ensure comprehensive coverage for all aspects of your life.

Why is an LPA Is Important?

Many believe their spouse or civil partner will automatically make decisions for them if they lose capacity. However, even with joint assets, your spouse might need your signature for changes, which isn’t possible if you lack capacity. Without an LPA, your loved ones may struggle to manage your affairs properly.

Who Needs an LPA?

LPAs are beneficial for everyone, regardless of age or health. It’s a misconception that you’ll never need an LPA; accidents or illnesses can occur at any time. An LPA provides an extra layer of security for you and your loved ones.

An LPA is ideal if you want:

  • More Choice Over Your Decisions: You have full control over who you appoint as your attorneys. You can name multiple people and have backup attorneys. You can also leave detailed instructions to ensure your wishes are followed. Without an LPA, a deputyship order is the only alternative, and you have no say in who the Court of Protection appoints.

  • Cost Savings for Your Loved Ones: Setting up an LPA costs £82 each, totalling £164 for both types. In contrast, a deputyship order has an initial application fee of £385, with potential additional fees. LPAs are a cost-effective way to prepare for the future.

  • Time Savings in the Future: Registering an LPA takes four to sixteen weeks. Deputyship orders can take up to six months, often at a critical time when decisions about health and finance are urgently needed. An LPA avoids these delays, allowing your attorneys to manage your affairs immediately.

LPAs vs. EPAs

You may also have heard of enduring powers of attorney (EPAs), which LPAs replaced in October 2007. EPAs are still valid but only cover financial decisions. EPAs can no longer be created, though you can replace an EPA with an LPA if you still have mental capacity.

Ordinary powers of attorney (OPAs) are another option but are limited to financial decisions while you still have mental capacity. OPAs are suitable for temporary management of your affairs or if you need help with daily tasks, but LPAs offer more comprehensive and lasting protection.

Creating an LPA sooner rather than later ensures your health and finances will be managed by trusted individuals.

Find out more about registering an LPA with Infinity Later Life. Our team of experts are ready to assist with all your estate planning needs.

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