LEGAL EAGLE: How you go about making a Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal instrument made by a person (the donor) to appoint another person or persons (the attorney(s)) to deal with their affairs. An LPA can be made in relation to property and financial affairs and / or in relation health and welfare issues.
The property and financial affairs LPA covers such things as bank accounts, investments, income including benefits and pensions, and property.
The health and welfare LPA covers such things as medical and care decisions, and the donor can give their chosen Attorney the power to make decisions in relation to life sustaining treatment if they wish.
The donor can continue to make their own decisions and deal with their own affairs once they have made an LPA, but, if in the future they become unable to do so their attorney can step in to act on their behalf.
Anyone aged over 18 with the mental capacity to do so can make an LPA. The person making the LPA chooses who they want to act as their Attorney(s) and chooses what powers they wish to give to the Attorney(s).
An LPA can only be made by a person before they lose mental capacity. A third party such as an appropriate professional or a person who has known the donor for over two years must act as certificate provider to certify on the LPA instrument that the donor has mental capacity to make the LPA. The certificate provider cannot be a member of the donor’s family or the attorney’s family
In order to be valid the LPA has to be signed by the donor, certificate provider and attorney(s) in that order. Both the donor and the attorney’s signatures must be witnessed by someone over 18. The donor’s signature cannot be witnessed by the attorney(s).
Once the LPA is complete it will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and that process takes around 8-10 weeks. Once registration has taken place a Property and Finances LPA can be used straight away if the donor wishes that to happen, but a Health and welfare LPA can only be used if and when the donor loses capacity.