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Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to deal with your affairs, should you ever become unable to manage them yourself.

Without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), it could be very difficult for your loved ones to help you if you could not make your own decisions. They would need to apply to the court for a deputyship order, which can be time-consuming and complex.

By putting an LPA in place, you can choose who you would like to act on your behalf and appoint them well in advance so that if the time came that you could no longer cope, they could step in straight away. An LPA would give them the authority to pay bills for you and make arrangements for your day-to-day care.

At Hains & Lewis, our Lasting Powers of Attorney solicitors are friendly and approachable and will be happy to talk through any concerns with you. We know how hard it can be to think about difficulties that might arise in the future, and we will always do all we can to help and reassure you.

We can provide assistance with all aspects of LPAs, including the following:

  • Making a Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Registering a Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Advice for Attorneys
  • Lasting Power of Attorney disputes

Our Wills and estate administration team work out of four local offices across Southwest Wales in CarmarthenHaverfordwest and Narberth. We offer home visits if needed, so please feel free to contact your local Hains & Lewis team to arrange an initial appointment.

How our Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors can help you

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two types of LPA available, one that gives your attorney power to make decisions in respect of your property and financial affairs and one in respect of your health and welfare.

We can advise you in respect of the appointment of attorneys and replacement attorneys and what powers to give them so that they can help you with your affairs, should you need them to in the future.

It is important to make an LPA while you still have the mental capacity to understand what you are signing. Once the document has been signed, it can be kept until such time as it is needed.

Registering a Lasting Power of Attorney

An LPA will need to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before it is used by your attorney. You can do this yourself while you still have the capacity, or your attorney can register it at any time.

With regard to a property and finance LPA, it can be used as soon as it has been registered, whether or not you have capacity. A health and welfare LPA can only be used once you are no longer able to make decisions on your own behalf.

Living Wills

An advance decision or living Will allows you to set out what medical treatments you are prepared to receive and whether there are any treatments that you do not want, although you cannot refuse certain basic care, including food and drink. The living Will will only be used if you become unable to communicate your wishes.

While a living Will deals solely with medical treatment and care, a health and welfare LPA also covers issues such as where you will live and what your day to day life will look like.

If a living Will is made before an LPA, the LPA will take priority in the event that both documents refer to the same issue. If the living Will is made after the LPA, then the living Will takes priority. Ideally, you should ensure that your living Will and LPA do not contain conflicting wishes.

Advice for Attorneys

Taking on the responsibility for managing someone else’s affairs can be daunting. We advise attorneys on how to register an LPA and the rights and responsibilities they will have once they have been appointed.

There are strict rules as to what can and cannot be done, and we can help you ensure that you have the authority you need to help your loved one. As an attorney, you will need to prepare accounts showing everything you have done. We can advise and assist, including in the event that you receive any enquiries from the Office of the Public Guardian, which oversees the LPA system.

Lasting Power of Attorney disputes

It may be the case that someone objects to your appointment as an attorney or to the actions you have taken on behalf of your relative. Alternatively, you may have concerns about the behaviour of an attorney who is representing a loved one.

When someone loses the ability to manage their own affairs, emotions within their family are often running high, and disagreements can arise. Issues that may be disputed include:

  • Whether the person who made the LPA (the donor) has lost the capacity to make their own decisions
  • Whether their property should be sold
  • Expenditure that the attorney is authorising
  • Gifts made by the attorney, around which there are strict rules
  • Details of the personal care the donor should receive
  • Disagreements over investment decisions
  • Concerns over the donor’s Will

When a dispute arises, it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible to protect yourself and also to stand a good chance of resolving the issue quickly. An expert LPA solicitor will be able to step in to try and agree on an acceptable solution before matters escalate and relationships deteriorate.

Your guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An LPA is a legal authority given to an attorney to deal with financial and property or health and welfare issues on behalf of an individual, should they become unable to manage their own affairs.

What powers does an Attorney have under an LPA?

Property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

A property and financial affairs LPA will allow your attorney to deal with matters such as paying your bills, collecting your pension, making investments and managing your bank account. You can also authorise them to sell your house.

There is the option to allow your attorney to use a property and financial affairs LPA while you still have the capacity to manage your own affairs. This can be useful if you are going away and will not be around to sign documents or if you find it difficult to get to the bank.

Health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

A health and welfare LPA gives your attorney the authority to make decisions relating to your care and the medical help that you will receive.

How long do Lasting Powers of Attorney last?

An LPA will generally last until the donor dies. While they still have capacity, it is open to them to formally revoke the LPA, should they wish to. Making a new LPA does not revoke an earlier LPA, so it is important to go through the correct procedure.

Can you have an Attorney removed?

There are strict rules governing the conduct of an attorney, and they should act in the best interests of the person they are representing at all times. If there are concerns about an attorney’s conduct, then you can report the attorney to the Office of the Public Guardian, who have the power to launch an investigation. If you are worried that your relative’s affairs are not being properly managed, you should speak to an LPA solicitor who will be able to advise you of your options.

What is the difference between a Lasting Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney on 1 October 2007. The Enduring Power of Attorney only covered property and financial matters and can only be registered once the donor is unable to manage their affairs.

Enduring Powers of Attorney signed before LPAs came in are still valid; however, LPAs offer more flexibility, including the option to deal with health and welfare issues, so it may be preferable to consider replacing an EPA if you are able.

Speak to our Lasting Powers of Attorney solicitors in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire

To arrange an initial consultation with our expert LPA solicitors in Southwest Wales, please contact your local Hains & Lewis office in CarmarthenHaverfordwest or Narberth.