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Government issues advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney

Posted: 17th December 2020   In: Wills, Trusts and Probate

The government has provided brief but useful advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and how they can be used to help people who are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.

An LPA is a legal document that you can draw up when you’re fit and healthy authorising someone you choose to make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so yourself at some point in the future.

The person drawing up the LPA is known as the donor and the person being authorised to make decisions is referred to as the attorney.

The government advice is aimed particularly at the person named as the attorney.

You don’t need any legal experience to act as someone’s attorney and the kind of decisions you make will depend on whether you’re a property and financial affairs attorney or a health and welfare attorney.

The official government advice offers these summaries.

Property and financial affairs attorneys

As a property and financial affairs attorney, you make (or help the donor make) decisions about things like money, tax and bills, bank and building society accounts, property and investments, pensions and benefits.

You can use the donor’s money to look after their home and buy anything they need such as food.

Health and welfare attorneys

As a health and welfare attorney, you make (or help the donor make) decisions about things like daily routine such as washing, dressing and eating, medical care or where the donor lives.

You might need to spend the donor’s money on things that maintain or improve their quality of life. This can include new clothes or hairdressing, decorating their home or a room in a care home.

It could also involve paying for extra support so the donor can go out more, for example to visit friends or relatives or to go on holiday. You must ask for money from the person in charge of the donor’s funds. 

In general, as an attorney, you must follow any instructions the donor included in the LPA, help the donor make their own decisions as much as they can and make any decisions in the donor’s best interests.

If you’re not the only attorney, you should check the LPA. It will tell you whether you must make decisions jointly, which means all the attorneys must agree, or jointly and severally, which means you can make decisions together or on your own.

The LPA may tell you to make some decisions jointly and others jointly and severally.

Please contact Jonathan King or Jamiel Zaman if you would like advice about drawing up Lasting Power of Attorney.

Posted by: Jonathan King
Private Client
Berkhamsted Office