You are concerned about your future and want someone to look after your affairs if you simply no longer want to yourself, or you become incapable in the future. The people you appoint will be known as your attorneys and you will appoint them using a document called a lasting power of attorney (LPA). You will be known as the ’donor’ because you are giving your attorney’s certain powers.
So….how do you go about it? Have a think through the following questions…
1. What do you want your attorney’s to do?
There are two types of LPA, Property and Affairs and Health and Welfare. You need to decide which type of LPA you want. You may trust someone with making decisions about your healthcare who you wouldn’t trust with your money and if you decide to make both types of LPA you can have different attorneys for each.
2. Who should I choose?
You are giving your attorneys significant power over your affairs so you must choose someone you trust. If you are appointing a Property and Affairs attorney they will be able to write cheques, pay bills, sell property, buy investments; basically act financially as though they were you.
More importantly, a Health and Welfare Attorney will be able to make decisions about future medical treatment.
Your attorneys cannot be bankrupt.
Think about who you would like to do this. Talk to your family and friends and make sure that they are in agreement.
3. How many attorneys should I have?
You can have between one and nine attorneys. If there are too many attorneys it will become difficult to perform financial transactions such as opening savings accounts because each attorney will have to prove their identity. If you only have one attorney, what will happen if they are on holiday and not contactable?
You can also appoint a replacement attorney who can step in if one of your existing attorneys is no longer able to act for you.
4. I have more than one attorney – do my attorneys have to agree and act together?
It’s up to you. Generally it’s useful to have attorneys that can act independently of each other and this is called ’jointly and severally’. In the example above, if one attorney is out of the country, another can still act for you. However, there is added security in having your attorneys agree and act together. The LPA form allows for you to specify some transactions that you might want the attorneys to act together, whilst allowing others to be independent.
5. Once appointed, can my attorneys do whatever they like?
No, they have to act in accordance with the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
6. Who should be informed?
Before your LPA can be used it must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) who will write to up to five people that you choose to tell them about the registration. This is for your protection so that the form cannot be registered without your knowledge.
7. Now you have a good idea who you wish to choose as attorney you should obtain legal advice
LPA’s are complex and powerful instruments and you and your attorney’s should always have legal advice before you proceed. Call Brar & Co for expert guidance and comprehensive advice.
8. Write your LPA
We will take you through this process and will also provide the certificate that confirms that you understand what you are doing.
9. Register your LPA
Before your LPA can be used it must be registered at the OPG. Brar & Co will arrange this for you.
10. Start using your LPA
If this is a Property and Affairs LPA a good place to start is by informing your bank and any organisations with which you have savings accounts or investments. Your attorneys will need to comply with the anti-money laundering rules and will have to prove their identity at each institution.