Mirror Lasting Power of Attorneys
15 April 2016
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a great way to help protect yourself in the future. If you are ever in a position where you cannot make decisions for yourself or you reach an age where you would prefer to pass over some responsibility to someone else, a Lasting Power of Attorney legally allows someone else to make those decisions for you.
A mirror, or identical Lasting Power of Attorney, allows married people, civil partners or couples to nominate each other to act as Attorney if one or the other loses capacity and cannot make decisions for themselves.
Most people in the UK assume that their spouse or child will legally be allowed to help them if they lose capacity, but this is not true in England or Wales. Your husband, wife, child or unmarried partner has no automatic legal right to access your bank accounts nor to manage any of your financial, property or health and welfare affairs if you can't.
Mirror Lasting Power of Attorneys offer you and your partner protection from someone you love and trust (your Attorney or Attorney's) and should make you feel secure no matter what the future may bring.
Making Mirror Lasting Power of Attorneys
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney available in England and Wales and it usually makes perfect sense to have both types done at the same time so everything is put in place at once, see Case Study.
The two types of Lasting Power of Attorney are:
- Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
- Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
The Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can be made and used at any time, even whilst you still have capacity. As you may already have joint finances, possibly a property in joint names and share your lives together, it won't be much of a stretch to give your partner or spouse access to your financial affairs or give them permission to sell any property you both share.
The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is used to make decisions about your care, your health and the treatment you should or should not receive. It legally allows your spouse to have control over your treatment and health. They will make the decisions for you once you can no longer make them yourself as the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once you have lost capacity.
What Happens Without a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If your spouse or partner doesn't have a Lasting Power of Attorney and loses capacity then you may have to apply to the Court of Protection to become their Deputy. For many people, whose partner has just suffered a loss of capacity, the prospect of dealing with the Court of Protection process is too much to take on. The Deputy Appointment process can take 5 to 6 months to finalise.
To be a Deputy means you will be monitored by the Court and a representative may come and visit with you to check how things are working. Being a Deputy is much more structured and rigid than being an Attorney.
The financial costs of having a Deputy are significantly more than making a Lasting Power of Attorney so planning ahead can save you a significant amount of money.
How We Can Help You
At Co-op Legal Services we understand how important planning for your future is. We want to make writing a Lasting Power of Attorney as quick and easy as possible for you. We offer a telephone service so you can speak to a Lasting Power of Attorney Advisor about your needs and requirements, and ask any questions you have before we write your Lasting Power of Attorney for you.
We can also register your LPA's with the Office of the Public Guardian (required in order to activate LPA's) who charge a registration fee.
For more information about making Mirror Lasting Power of Attorneys call Co-operative Legal Services on 03306069591 or contact us online and we will help you.