Lasting Power of Attorney and What It Means

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There are many reasons that someone might want to allow a family member or loved one the power of Lasting Power of Attorney (L.P.A).

When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, brain injury, or suffers from drug misuse, effects of medication or serious bouts of mental illness, giving someone that power allows their estate to be managed by the nominated person whilst they are too ill to do so themselves. This is designed to allow a better degree of peace of mind if the worst happens. It is not necessary for the person to be diagnosed with something terminal, some people put the process in place as a cautionary measure.

Being given the power of attorney over someone can be a large responsibility, especially as it will be for someone close to them or at least someone in a position of great trust. Whether or not someone is ill, mortgage payments still need to be paid, as do utility bills, any credit cards, business transactions or any other process that involves finance. Any welfare benefits must be claimed as well as tax credits or legal proceedings that might arise.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorneys. One person can be put forward as either one or both of those positions. The first of those, as discussed, involves financial and property related issues and the second is with regards to personal welfare.

A personal welfare L.P.A will deal with affairs such as what different courses of medication are to be followed and whether the person shall be cared for at home where possible or in an environment with more professional care. These decisions will be made according to the wishes of the person who appoints the L.P.A and will have been discussed beforehand.

To appoint someone with the lasting power of attorney, the person in question must be in sound state of mind. This makes perfect sense when you consider the vulnerabilities that can go hand in hand with some degenerative illnesses, to help protect them from any potential abuse or financial mishandling.

The other thing to consider when appointing an L.P.A is that without the correct wording, the nominated person may take control of any of the finances and decisions (including who you can see) in your life before you are too ill to do so yourself. It is worth seeking legal advice to protect yourself should that happen. Remember that you can pick and choose what powers in such circumstances you wish to relinquish and to whom.

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