Being heard when you can’t speak…
You can choose someone else to speak for you if you’re no longer able to do so.
This could be because you are unconscious or because you don’t have the ability to speak or understand your own mind for some other reason.
To do this, you register a Lasting Power of Attorney. This gives the person or people you trust the legal power to be your voice.
Why would I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and at the moment many people are very concerned about setting up Health & Welfare LPAs. This document, once registered, gives your attorney(s) the legal status to speak on your behalf about your care and medicatl treatment if you are unable to do so.
Your Health & Welfare Attorney, who should be a trusted friend or family member, will be your voice in discussions with medical teams who must consider what they say as though it was you speaking.
Your Attorney will be legally obliged to follow any guidance you gave in your LPA about your wishes if there is a need for you to have life saving treatment. They also speak for you in respect of decisions about your general healthcare and wellbeing decisions if necessary.
They cannot spend money on your behalf; they must ask your financial attorney, if you have one, for permission to use funds to buy toiletries and other items relating to your care.
The second type of LPA relates to Financial Affairs.
Your chosen attorney(s) can act at any time once the document has been registered so even if you still have capacity.
However, you can say in the LPA that attorneys may only act when you lose capacity.
Your financial attorney has legal authority to deal with any accounts you may have – from credit cards to utilities.
It is obviously a good idea to choose someone you trust for this role. You can give them instructions in the LPA about how they should act in relation to your money management.
How much does it cost?
We can complete the paperwork for you, and send the LPA for registration.
Our fees start at £325 per LPA. They are set out in full on our LPA webpage which is here.
The Office of the Public Guardian fee is £82.00 per LPA.
While you wait
If you want to make sure your wishes about medical treatment are shared with someone you trust now, or you need more immediate help with managing your finances, there are other things you can do while you wait for your LPAs to be registered.
We’ill give you information and advice about these; please just ask. A good idea is to make sure you’ve talked about your wishes with your closest family and friends, so that they can at least share them with medical staff if need be.
How long does it take?
Once you are happy with the content of the document, we can act as your Certificate Provider.
This means we talk to you, in private if at all possible, over the phone or by video call, to ensure that you are completely clear on what the document means and that you are happy about the decisions you are making.
Then you, the Certificate Provider, and the attorneys must all sign the document in person, and have your signatures witnessed. That can be time consuming, especially with the current social distancing rules, but we will provide clear instructions on how to do this efficiently and correctly.
When the paperwork has been completed and signed, it must be sent to the Office of The Public Guardian to be registered. This process usually takes 8 weeks, but there are likely to be delays at present. The LPA is not legally binding until it is registered.