We come across numerous cases of facts about a lasting power of Attorney that are just not correct – so in this post, we’ll try and dispel some of them.
If a couple have a joint bank account and one of them loses their mental capacity, their spouse or partner may continue to make decisions about the bank account on their behalf.
In hospital, your next of kin always gets the final say in treatment decisions if you can’t make these decisions yourself.
Everyone over the age of 18 should have Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place.
These are legal documents drawn up and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). They give another or others (Attorneys) the power to deal with your affairs and make decisions for you if you are unable to do this for yourself because you lack the mental capacity.
There are two types of LPAs which can be set up.
One covers your Property & Financial Affairs decisions which would enable your attorneys to run your bank accounts, make or sell investments, pay your bills, and buy or sell property, etc.
The other covers your Health and Welfare decisions which can include the type of health care and medical treatments you receive including life-sustaining treatment, where you live, who visits you, and daily matters such as your diet and routine.
To complete and register LPAs, there are certain documents which must be completed.
Couples who are married or in a civil partnership do not automatically have the power to make decisions for each other if one loses capacity. LPAs are the only way to ensure that the people you choose would have the legal authority to deal with your affairs. If you lose capacity (even temporarily) and you have not completed LPAs, your assets will be frozen (this includes joint bank accounts) and your loved ones would then need to apply to the Court of Protection for authority to deal with your affairs. Applying to the Court is very costly and it takes several months for a decision. In some cases, the Court declines the application and appoints professional Attorneys (who charge for their services) to deal with your financial affairs and social services will make all the decisions regarding your health and welfare – not your partner or next of kin.
Please refer to our Power of Attorney page for further details.