If you become unable to make decisions for yourself – through illness or injury, on a temporary or permanent basis – then the attorney you have appointed is able to deal with your bank accounts and other financial matters so that bills get paid. They can also: buy or sell property if necessary; they can claim, receive or use any benefit payments on your behalf; they can receive an inheritance or income and deal with your tax affairs. This type of arrangement is called a Property and Financial Affairs LPA.
If you run a business, or if you are a person with high levels of income and investments and people depend on you for their livelihood, a correctly prepared LPA allows things to continue to run without hardship to your family or others. Without an LPA it can be a very lengthy and painful process for even a spouse to get access to your financial affairs where accounts are in your sole name.
A Health and Care Decisions LPA (also know as a Health and Welfare LPA) allows your attorney to make health care and welfare decisions on your behalf if you lose the mental capacity to do so for yourself. These can include: decisions about where you should live and who should care for you; consenting or refusing medical treatment on your behalf; rights of access to your personal information and dealing with personal correspondence for you.
It is important to note that LPAs are not just suitable for the elderly – accidents or illness can happen unexpectedly. If you do not have an LPA in place, then family have to apply for a Deputyship Order.