Today I’d like to look in a bit more detail at the different kinds of LPAs available. Its important to note that the person writing the Power of Attorney is the Donor, and the people they appoint to make decisions for them are the Attorneys.
The two main kinds are Health & Welfare and Property and Financial Affairs.
Health & Welfare confers powers relating to the type of health care and medical treatment for the donor, which can include where they live, day to day matters such as diet, routine and even life sustaining treatment. The powers under this type of LPA only become useable once the donor no longer has the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
Property and Financial Affairs confers powers to the attorney to make decisions relating to financial and property matters of the donor. The key difference here is that you the donor can grant your attorneys the power to make decisions for you as soon as the LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (i.e. before you have lost mental capacity) which can be particularly useful if you need financial, property or business matters attended to whilst you are out of the country.
An Attorney has a legal duty to act in the donor’s best interests and failure to do so could be a criminal offence. So donor protection from unscrupulous attorneys is implicit in the LPA document itself. Also an attorney cannot use the LPA to change the donor’s will.