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Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Power of Attorney: Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings
From our offices in Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings, East Sussex, our specialist Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors will help you to set up a lasting power of attorney (LPA) to safeguard your wishes relating to your health and/or financial interests in case you lose capacity.
Call us on 01323 435900 or email us to discuss how we can help you. For a better understanding of lasting powers of attorney, please read the FAQs on this page. Or for more detailed guidance, please refer to our Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) Briefing Note.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables you (the donor) to nominate someone (an attorney) who will make important decisions on your behalf if you ever lose the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself. Your attorney will usually be a relative, a trusted friend or a solicitor and you may appoint several attorneys. Crucially, you can only make an LPA whilst you still have mental capacity.
Mental capacity in this context means the ability to make everyday decisions, such as decisions about financial affairs or healthcare. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 a person is deemed unable to make a decision if they can’t do one or more of the following:
- Understand information relevant to the decision.
- Retain that information long enough to make the decision.
- Use or weigh up that information as part of the decision-making process.
- Communicate the decision.
Although it’s probably uncomfortable to imagine a time when you’ll need to rely on an LPA, you should bear in mind that the need for one can arise suddenly through a wide range of circumstances. For example, an LPA may be needed following a stroke, the onset of dementia (such as Alzheimer’s) or after a serious accident.
With an LPA in place you have the peace of mind of knowing that someone you trust will look after your affairs should the need arise.
Many people wrongly assume that if they lose mental capacity, their relatives will easily be able to make decisions about their finances and care on their behalf. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Unless you’ve set up an LPA, your loved ones would need to apply to become a deputy of the Court of Protection to make those decisions: a process which takes longer and costs more than if an LPA had been set up. Also, if this happens, the people who become deputies may not be those you would have chosen to manage your affairs.
There are two types of LPA. A Health and Welfare LPA enables your attorney to make decisions over day-to-day healthcare and medical treatment and deal with any health or social care staff. This type of LPA can only be used after the donor has lost mental capacity.
The second type is a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, and this enables your attorney to make decisions about your finances and property. This type of LPA can be used before or after the donor loses mental capacity.
It’s worth noting that these two types of LPA work independently. An attorney named on your Health and Welfare LPA will not automatically gain control over your property and finances unless you have also set up a Property and Financial Affairs LPA naming them as an attorney, and vice versa.
If you want to set out your wishes as to the types of medical treatment you should or should not receive in certain situations, you can make a Living Will, which our solicitors can arrange for you.
Anyone aged 18 or over with mental capacity can set up an LPA. Even if you are in good health, it is prudent to set up an LPA now in case you lose capacity through unforeseen circumstances.
The Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was replaced by the Property and Financial Affairs LPA in October 2007. EPAs are still valid but do not cover health and welfare. To appoint an attorney to deal with health and welfare matters you will need to set up a Health and Welfare LPA.
Losing mental capacity can be particularly problematic for business owners. If you lose capacity, your inability to make decisions could jeopardise your business as well as affecting your customers and employees. Similarly, if you have a joint business account with other business owners that requires the signatures of all of you, your business partners could be placed in a difficult financial position. For these reasons, we strongly advise business owners, regardless of their age or health, to set up a Property and Financial Affairs LPA.