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Hand holding another hand. People helpin


People can become unable to manage their own affairs at any stage of life. An accident, physical ill health or the onset of mental illness may make the everyday routines of paying bills, managing a budget and making financial decisions difficult and stressful and, in some cases, impossible.

It really is worth planning ahead. When someone becomes incapable of managing their affairs in the future, it can be a very difficult time both for them and for their family and friends. An ordinary power of attorney is not an effective solution because it is automatically revoked by the onset of mental incapacity. The Court of Protection has power to appoint someone to manage your affairs in these circumstances, but the process can often be painfully slow and inflexible. More importantly, you may not have control over who is appointed.

The solution is to appoint someone while you are still mentally capable, to look after your affairs and act on your behalf if necessary. You can do this by making a 'lasting power of attorney' or 'LPA'.

Since 2007 it has been possible to make two types of LPA:

  • A 'Property and Affairs' LPA, which allows your attorney to deal with your property and finances.

  • A 'Personal Welfare' LPA, which allows your attorney to make welfare and healthcare decisions on your behalf - but only when you lack capacity to do so yourself. This could extend to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.

It is no longer possible to make an 'enduring power of attorney' (EPA) but any EPA validly made before 1 October 2007 will remain capable of being used. Having said that, EPAs could only ever be made in respect of your property and finances so if you wish to give authority over your welfare and healthcare you should still consider making a Personal Welfare LPA.

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