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Understanding the Difference Between Property and Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney and Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney

Understanding the Difference Between Property and Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney and Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney

It is essential to understand the key distinctions between property and affairs lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) and health and welfare lasting powers of attorney. These legal documents serve crucial roles in managing and protecting one's interests, especially in unforeseen circumstances. Let's delve into the differences between these two types of LPAs and underscore the importance of seeking professional guidance when setting them up.

Property and Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney:

Property and affairs LPAs are designed to empower individuals to appoint an attorney to make decisions on financial and property matters. This type of LPA enables the attorney to handle various financial affairs, such as managing bank accounts, paying bills, buying or selling property, and making investments. It essentially gives the attorney the authority to act in the best interests of the donor regarding their financial and property-related affairs. Importantly, this type of LPA can be utilised while the donor still has mental capacity, provided they have given their attorney permission to act on their behalf with regards to their financial and property matters. For instance a person may retain their mental capacity but just become very elderly over the time and would prefer their chosen attorney(s) to deal with their financial affairs.

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney:

Alternatively, a health and welfare LPA allows an individual to appoint an attorney to make decisions regarding their health and welfare, but only if that individual loses the capacity to make such decisions for themselves. This means that the appointed attorney can make decisions related to medical treatment, care options, and other personal welfare matters. Unlike property and affairs LPAs, the health and welfare LPA is activated specifically when the individual is deemed incapable of making these decisions. This could occur due to illness, an accident, or other situations where the individual is no longer able to make decisions on their own.

Key Differences:

It's crucial to recognize the notable differences between the two types of LPAs. While property and affairs LPAs focus on financial and property-related matters, health and welfare LPAs come into effect only when an individual is unable to make decisions about their ownpersonal welfare and medical care.

LPAs as an "Insurance Policy":

In many ways, LPAs can be likened to an insurance policy – they provide a safety net for individuals to ensure that their affairs are properly managed if they are unable to do so themselves. Having these documents in place can offer peace of mind and alleviate potential difficulties that could arise in the absence of clear legal instructions. By setting up LPAs, individuals can ensure that their personal and financial matters are managed in accordance with their wishes by people they trust, even if they are unable to express those wishes themselves.

The Importance of obtaining professional advice

When considering setting up LPAs, the expertise of a solicitor who specialises in private client matters is invaluable. The intricacies of creating and registering LPAs and ensuring they conform to legal requirements can be complex. Professional guidance ensures that the LPAs accurately reflect the individual's wishes and unique circumstances. Additionally, specialist solicitors can offer advice on the selection of suitable attorneys, as well as detailed discussions on the scope of authority granted to them. Attempting to create these legal documents without proper legal advice can lead to misunderstandings or even legal complications in the future.

In summary, the clear distinction between property and affairs LPAs and health and welfare LPAs is crucial for individuals to understand when making decisions about these important legal documents. Seeking professional legal advice from a solicitor specialising in private client matters is strongly advised, as it ensures that the LPAs are tailored to the individual's specific needs and circumstances. By doing so, individuals can have confidence that their affairs and welfare will be managed in accordance with their wishes, providing peace of mind and security for the future.

Speak to our Bournemouth-based Will Solicitors today

Solomons Solicitors can help you with advising on and preparing your LPAs and other Will and estate planning needs.

For a free initial consultation, call us today on 01202 802 807   or use our online contact form.

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