A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding LPA
Learn about Lasting Power of Attorney, why they’re important, and how you can use them to safeguard your interests during decision-making processes. Learn how LPA functions, its types, and frequently asked questions surrounding this legal instrument.
In today’s complex world, it is essential to plan for unforeseen circumstances, especially when it comes to making important decisions about your health and finances. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal tool that allows individuals to appoint trusted individuals (known as attorneys) to make decisions on their behalf should they become mentally or physically incapable of doing so themselves. Hopefully, after reading this post, you’ll have a firm grasp of what LPA is, why it’s important, and how you may put it to use to safeguard your interests.
What is Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
LPA is a legal document that grants authority to chosen individuals to act on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make decisions independently. This could be due to a decline in mental capacity caused by factors such as old age, illness, or accident. LPA provides a framework for individuals to plan ahead and ensure that their affairs are managed by someone they trust. It allows the appointed attorney(s) to make important decisions relating to finances, property, health, and welfare, based on the wishes and best interests of the individual who created the LPA.
The Types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
There are two types of LPA, each serving a different purpose:
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA: This type of LPA grants the appointed attorney(s) the authority to make decisions regarding financial matters, such as managing bank accounts, paying bills, collecting benefits, or even selling property on the individual’s behalf.
- Health and Welfare LPA: Health and Welfare LPA empowers the attorney(s) to make decisions regarding an individual’s personal welfare, including healthcare, medical treatment, living arrangements, and daily care. It is important to note that the authority to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment must be expressly granted within this type of LPA.
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How to Create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
Creating an LPA involves the following steps:
- Choose your attorney(s): Select individuals whom you trust to act in your best interests and make decisions on your behalf. They should have the necessary skills and qualities to fulfill this role effectively.
- Complete the necessary forms: Obtain the relevant LPA forms from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) or their official website. These forms require details about you, your chosen attorney(s), and any special instructions or preferences you may have.
- Notify individuals: Inform your chosen attorney(s) about your decision to appoint them and discuss your preferences and expectations. This allows them to understand their role and responsibilities fully.
- Signing and dating documents in the presence of an impartial third party, such as a lawyer, is required prior to submission. Send the completed forms and the appropriate fee to the OPG via certified mail once you have had them notarized.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
- What is Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
- Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows individuals to appoint trusted individuals (known as attorneys) to make decisions on their behalf if they become mentally or physically incapable of doing so themselves.
- Who can create an LPA?
- Any individual aged 18 or above who has mental capacity can create an LPA. It is recommended to create an LPA early on, before any incapacity arises.
- Do I need a solicitor to create an LPA?
- There is no requirement under law that you consult an attorney, but doing so may make the process go more smoothly.Consult a lawyer if you want to make sure you’re acting legally.
- Can I revoke or change my LPA?
- Yes, you can revoke or change your LPA as long as you still have mental capacity. Changing your name or other information on file with the OPG is as simple as filling out the appropriate forms.
- Can I have more than one attorney?
- Yes, you can appoint more than one attorney. You can choose to have them act jointly, meaning they must agree on decisions, or jointly and severally, where they can make decisions independently or together.
- Can my attorney make decisions without consulting me?
- Attorneys have a legal duty to act in your best interests and should involve you in decision-making whenever possible. They should consider your preferences and consult you to the extent that you are able to participate.
These are just a few of the common questions about Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). It is important to consult with a legal professional or the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) for personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.
In conclusion, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a crucial legal instrument that enables people to prepare for the possibility of incapacity and assign trustworthy individuals the responsibility of managing their affairs. In the event of incapacity, your LPA will be followed. It is important to understand the types of LPAs, the process of creating one, and the responsibilities of the appointed attorneys. Seek professional guidance to navigate the complexities of LPA and make informed decisions.