Should you find yourself unable to manage your finances – either due to injury, illness, or another incapacity – an attorney can ensure everything is accounted for; keeping finances under control.
Putting someone in charge of your financial affairs is known as Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). There are several variants of Lasting Power of Attorney, and a few key elements you ought to be aware of.
things to think about…
types of lasting power of attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs gives authority to the appointed attorney to handle property and financial matters (bank accounts, investments, standing orders).
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare covers decisions relating to social and health matters, including where the person in question lives and how they are cared for.
The attorney can only use this power if the document has been registered with the Office of Public Guardian, and the person in question is not capable of making the decision themselves.
If you suddenly fall ill and cannot communicate your treatment preferences to medical staff, the doctor will examine any Advance Directive or Living Will you might have previously signed when you were of “sound mind”.
Any instructions in these documents will be honoured – even if you have expressed a desire to refuse treatment.
An Advance Statement is a general statement expressing your wishes and views. It allows you to indicate what treatment/care you would like to receive should you ever fall ill, including dietary and religious preferences.
Whilst medical staff will follow your wishes as closely as possible, they are not legally bound to do so in this instance.
An Advance Decision to refuse treatment is the only type of Living Will that is legally binding (provided the signee is 18+ and of sound mind).
It must indicate exactly what type of treatment you wish to refuse and should give as much detail as possible about the circumstances under which this refusal would apply.
understanding power of attorney
A General Power of Attorney (GPA) allows someone to make decisions and act in most matters related to your property and affairs. You are liable for their actions, so you should only ever appoint someone whom you implicitly trust.
A GPA is effective immediately and will remain in force until it is either cancelled or revoked (either due to mental incapacity, death or bankruptcy of the person in question or the attorney themselves).
You can revoke or cancel the Power of Attorney at any time if you are in good mental health.
It can also be terminated due to external elements, such as the person in question going bankrupt.
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