There’s a good chance that many of us will be called upon to help a family member or friend manage their finances and care as their health declines. This is especially true of carers. The simplest way to do this is by making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), a legal document that allows someone you trust to make decisions for you if you are unable to.
There are two types of LPA:
A ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA allows your loved ones to deal with paying your bills, buying and selling your property and managing your bank accounts and investments.
A ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA covers decisions about health and care and even deciding where you are going to live. This can only be used if someone is incapable of dealing with such matters themselves.
Why is this important?
You can choose to make one type or both. Anybody of any age can put an LPA in place and it is important to remember that it can only be sought before your loved one loses mental capacity, so it is best to think about this early on. None of us know what the future holds and LPAs aren’t just a way to plan for the future if you lose mental capacity through dementia. Other people create LPAs in case of a serious accident or illness which might leave them dependent on others to help with crucial decisions.
We are often contacted by carers in tricky positions because they didn’t secure LPA before their loved one lost capacity – at that point it becomes a much more challenging and expensive process. It really is one of the best ways you can future-proof your assets so why not have a chat with your loved one regarding their hopes for their future care and finances.
How to make a Lasting Power of Attorney
You can do it yourself by completing forms found on the gov.uk website. Alternatively, you can pay a fee to a solicitor to complete the forms on your behalf.
If you need to speak to a solicitor, we often refer carers to speak to Shane Flannery at Clifford Johnston & Co Solicitors. Shane can be contacted on 0161 696 2410 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Carers with one of our Connecting Carers Card will receive a discount for his service.
It costs £82 to register a Lasting Power of Attorney (though people claiming some benefits may be eligible for a reduction). This may seem like a lot of money, but it is a good alternative to paying thousands of pounds if there is no LPA in place and a different lengthy process has to be undertaken via the Court of Protection.
Based on carers’ insights and experiences, Carers UK have produced a factsheet on Power of Attorney.
Read more about different ways of managing someone’s affairs in England and Wales on the Carers UK website here.