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Lasting Powers of Attorney
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) helps you to transfer your authority to someone that you trust so that they can make decisions for you when you are unable to do so. When you are drawing up an LPA, it gives you a chance to choose someone that can carry out your wishes. You can also include restrictions or specific instructions on matters that are important to you.
An LPA gives your representative, legal authority to make decisions for you. It is therefore essential to set up an LPA while you still are of sound mind to make the decision. Not having LPAs set up later in life could lead to your loved ones facing long, uncomfortable delays and costs trying to get control of your estate through legal means. Most people also wrongly assume that an LPA means giving up control once it is set up. You can choose when the LPA becomes effective, for example, only when you are unable to make decisions for yourself anymore.
There are two different types of LPAs, one covering property and financial decisions, the other covering health and welfare-related decisions. You can have different LPAs for each type, or you can assign one LPA for both aspects. All you need to do is make sure your LPA is registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). You must also be above 18 years and have your full mental capacity during the process of making an LPA for your affairs.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA lets you choose representatives that will help decide how your money and properties are used. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA handles decisions and duties related to bills, cheques, money transfers, salaries, property management and sale as necessary. It is critical to include limitation to a property and affairs LPA if you have doubts or want to have contingencies in the future against malpractice. Having an LPA take care of your financial affairs is important as they can even do so while you can still handle it yourself.
Before nominating someone to be your LPA for Property and Financial Affairs, you need to be sure you know them and can trust them. Your LPA will be responsible for dependents in your absence so ensure that you include your attorneys, witnesses and close family in the process.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
This type of LPA gives an attorney(s) the right to decisions that concern your health and well-being. A Health and Welfare LPA deals with decisions that affect medical treatment, daily upkeep, residential care, support for social services and decisions relating to life. An LPA for Health and Welfare only applies when the appointer is no longer able to make decisions independently. Your health and welfare attorney has the power to choose whether you receive treatment to sustain or end your life. This option is on the form for the LPA appointment for you to decide what you want when the time comes.
You should also bear in mind that your Health and Welfare LPA can overrule any previous decision you have made. If you want your decisions to remain immutable, you will need to state this clearly in your LPA form so that your advance decision cannot be changed. It is also in your best interest to appoint Replacement Attorneys and decide on how decisions will be made. You can have multiple replacements for your attorney so that you can be rest assured that your best interest is secured at all times.