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For many people considering their Lasting Powers of Attorney is part of planning for later life. Making sure these documents are in place ahead of when they're needed is sensible. It's also essential, due to the potentially long wait to be activated by the Office of the Public Guardian. This process can take 8 to 12 weeks.
Lasting powers of attorney (or LPAs) are legal documents that give other people the right to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. This can either be a temporary measure or a permanent arrangement, depending on your personal circumstances.
If an individual becomes unable to handle their own affairs due to ill health or injury, an LPA is designed to allow their appointed attorneys to act on their behalf to make decisions and manage their property and financial affairs.
There are two types of LPA: one for financial affairs and one for healthcare and welfare decisions. These arrangements enable you to appoint a person to make decisions on your behalf now and in the future. This can then be enacted, should you lack capacity through ill health or an injury.
There will be a consultation to review the system of paper-based LPAs. It will consider how digital technology can be utilised to improve the process and reduce timescales. They will also review the process to see if the LPAs can be prepared quickly. This will likely help those with a relative who has had a sudden change in health or personal circumstances.
The suggestions certainly sound positive for those looking to undertake the process. However, implementation of the new systems can take years. It's therefore vitally important to plan ahead to make sure that the proper documents are in place now.
Should you become incapacitated or lose the ability to make decisions for yourself then at that stage it becomes too late to prepare the LPAs and those close to you will need to consider appointing a Deputy on your behalf which can be a complex process.
I can't underline how important it is to have proper legal advice to draft the documents. This is the case whether the LPAs are prepared digitally or they're paper-based.
As part of the process of preparing the documents, you are able to tailor the LPAs. This means you can include preferences (that indicate your wishes) and instructions (that are legally binding). The wording of these clauses must be carefully considered and can cover a large scope of topics. For example, where you would like to live, how you would like to receive care and even life sustaining treatment decisions.
If your affairs are complex or you own a business or investments, LPA's are especially important. In these cases, there are some specific drafting points you may wish to consider. These will ensure that your Attorneys can continue to either manage your affairs or reinvest on your behalf.
Our Private Client team at Nash and Co Solicitors we would be glad to assist you in preparing your LPAs. We can advise you on appropriate measures regarding your own circumstances. We can then arrange for your LPAs to be registered directly with the Office of the Public Guardian. They are then ready for use if/when the time comes.
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* The information contained on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, if you notice anything that you know to be incorrect or misleading, please contact us.