A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document drawn up whilst the person making it (the Donor) has mental capacity to do so. Once registered at the Court of Protection (Office of the Public Guardian) the people appointed in the document (the Attorneys) have full legal power to deal with the affairs of the Donor.
An LPA is most commonly set up naming the spouse and children as the Attorneys. The prime objective is usually to ensure that the Donor’s financial and property affairs can be attended to if there is a loss of mental capacity or loss of physical mobility.
A Lasting Power of Attorney may also be put in place to give powers to look after the Donor’s Personal Welfare. This may for example be prudent where a person is suffering from a gradually debilitating condition. Such an LPA may even go as far as to address more controversial ‘end-of-life’ wishes (issues which may also be addressed by the use of so-called “Living Wills”).
The forms involved in setting up an Legal Power of Attorney are onerous, as is the essential LPA Registration process, and clients often need assistance.
If a person has lost mental capacity, it will not be possible to put in place a LPA; instead there may be a need to make an application for a Deputyship Order, whereby another person (usually a close family member) is appointed to look after the affairs of the incapacitated person. Again, this is an onerous procedure.
It is important to recognise that even if an LPA is in place, or if a Deputyship Order has been made, it may still not be possible to deal with a sale of a property without the need to make a further application to the Court of Protection. As this is an expensive and time-consuming process, which may cause delays leading to a loss of the sale, it is wise to take specialist advice at the outset, particularly where the property is jointly owned and one of the co-owners has lost capacity.
Although the Legal Power of Attorney is a very powerful document, it is also possible to put in place a (less powerful, but very flexible) General Power of Attorney – perhaps for a specifc purpose such as the purchase of a property. You may appoint a conveyancer to act fully on your behalf whilst, perhaps, you are out of the country, so that the matter can proceed and complete during your absence.
If you require further information about Power of Attorney services, please contact DRA Legal, DRA Conveyancing Ltd, for a no-obligation consultation in our offices, or in your own home. Fill out the message form on the contact page to provide a brief outline of your enquiry and we will contact you at the very latest within 24 hours.