Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents which allow you to appoint someone to make decisions about your property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare in the event that you become incapable of making decisions for yourself in the future.
You can only appoint someone as an attorney whilst you still have the capacity to do so.
Why do you need an LPA if you are already married?
If you are married or in a legal civil partnership, your spouse does not automatically have the right to act as an attorney on your behalf. The harrowing story of Kate Garraway and her husband, Derek Draper, has been a lesson she shared with the nation.
When her husband was put into a coma, Kate’s lack of LPA meant she did not have the rights she needed to look after his health and financial affairs.
You can read the full story here: https://cunningtons.co.uk/kate-garraway-lasting-power-attorney.
Sort out your LPA sooner rather than later
None of us knows what’s going to happen to us in the future: you might develop an debilitating disease like Derek Draper, or you might be injured in a riding accident like Christopher Reeve.
It is therefore important not to delay in appointing an attorney, no matter how old you are.
Once you have lost mental capacity it is already too late and at that point if someone needs to make decisions for you they have to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. Applying for deputyship is a lengthy and costly procedure.
What is the process for arranging an LPA?
Lasting Powers of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.
Delays in registering LPAs
As of June 2021, the Office of the Public Guardian are currently experiencing delays in the registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney, due to the pandemic and staff working from home.
They are also having to deal with a surge in applications to register Lasting Powers of Attorney which may be due to Kate Garraway’s work in highlighting the issue.
The Office of the Public Guardian has released an update advising:
we believe people should register their LPAs in advance of needing [them], so do not delay in sending your LPA application if it is completed. Remember it will not come into effect until you lose mental capacity, or until you give permission to your attorney to make decisions on your behalf (only for financial LPAs)
The Office of the Public Guardian have further advised:
while we are working to process applications as quickly as possible, please allow up to 15 weeks from receipt of your LPA for applications to be registered.
Steps you should take now as a precaution
Do not delay in appointing an attorney to act for you under a Lasting Power of Attorney, as Powers of Attorney make it easier for people to manage their loved ones’ affairs and to safeguard their finances and wellbeing.