Help and advice Practical and specialist support Lasting Power of Attorney 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 not able to. There are two types: 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 to live. This can only be used if someone is incapable of dealing with such matters themselves. You can choose to make one type or both. Anybody of any age can put an LPA in place and it is best to think about it way before a loved one loses mental capacity to the point where they can’t make decisions anymore. 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 a severe accident, or illnesses such as a stroke or cancer 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 ones regarding their hopes for their future care and finances. Then don’t delay: look into it today! How to Make a Lasting Power of Attorney You can do it yourself by completing forms found on the gov.uk website – see www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney. Carers who have done so have assured us it isn’t too difficult! Alternatively, you can pay a fee to a solicitor to complete the forms on your behalf. It costs £82 to register a Lasting Power of Attorney though people claiming some benefits may be eligible for a reduction. Thought this may seem a lot of money, it is a very 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.