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Whether we are ill at home or need urgent hospital treatment, we appreciate the help and support of those around us. There are a number of rules and regulations that prevent others from being involved in decisions relating to our care and treatment unless we have specifically authorised that they are able to do so.
We may need help to manage our finances, claim benefits, or pay bills. This would be particularly important if we are in hospital for any length of time, are unable to get out and about or are becoming confused.
This isn’t restricted to just later life though. An accident, a stroke or other illness could mean that we suddenly lose the ability to make decisions or act for ourselves, even at a young age.
if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself a special court called the Court of Protection will need to appoint someone for you. If a family member or trusted friend wants to act in this capacity they have to apply to court and be subject to their scrutiny and decisions. This is a costly and time-consuming process. You will have NO control over who is appointed to make decisions for you.
To avoid this you can appoint someone that you know and trust in advance. The document that is used to appoint someone in this capacity is called a Lasting Power of Attorney and enables you to choose those you trust to act on your behalf if you are unable. These are known as your Attorneys. There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
- LPA – Property and Finance
This is a direct replacement for the Enduring Power of Attorney and deals with your financial affairs. The document deals with financial matters such as operating your bank account, paying bills, selling your house and claiming benefits. There are strict rules preventing your Attorneys from using your assets for anything other than your benefit.
- LPA – Health and Welfare
This can include where you live, your clothes and food, the type and quality of care you receive, medical treatment and medicines. No one can make these decisions for you while you still have the capacity to do so for yourself. These is also an option to authorise your Attorneys to make end of life decisions for you, if you are in a terminal condition.