As many people now live longer more people are having Lasting Powers of Attorney prepared so that a relative or close friend can make decisions on their behalf if they lose mental capacity. People can lose mental capacity at any age due to accident or illness but it is more common in your later years especially if you suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke or similar illnesses.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney. One deals with property and financial matters and covers decisions about paying bills, applying for Welfare Benefits, dealing with care home fees, investing savings and buying or selling property. The other type deals with health and welfare issues such as what treatment, care or medication you should receive and where you would wish to live.
You can give guidance or put restrictions on how the person should use the Lasting Power of Attorney if you wish to do so. For example you can give guidance about any payments or charitable gifts that you wish to make if you have lost mental capacity. The Lasting Power of Attorney has to be notified to at least three people and then registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. It takes effect once registered but the person dealing with your matters i.e. the Attorney has to consult you about any decisions. The Attorney is legally required to act in your best interest at all times.
Lasting Powers of Attorney are dearer than the previous Enduring Powers of Attorney as the form is longer and they have to be registered before they are valid. However, they are cheaper and easier than applying to the Court of Protection which is the procedure required if the person has already lost mental capacity.