What Happens if Your Lasting Power of Attorney Can’t Act on Your Behalf?

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If you have made a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) then you will have appointed someone to be your attorney in the event that you become unable to make decisions for yourself, and this chosen person is likely to be someone that you trust, such as your partner, spouse, child or even a close friend

But what if your appointed attorney dies or gets ill, meaning that they can no longer act on your behalf? 

The answer to this question depends on what is stated in your LPA, how many attorneys you have listed and whether or not you are currently still able to make decisions for yourself, i.e. you still have full mental capacity. We explain all you need to know in our guide below.

If you’ve appointed more than one attorney

In the eyes of UK law, you can appoint as many attorneys as you like - there is no limit. If you have appointed more than one attorney in your LPA, you will need to look at exactly how you have appointed them:

If you have appointed your attorneys:

  • Jointly: This means that all attorneys must agree on all decisions that need to be made together.
  • Jointly and severally: This means that your attorneys are able to make decisions on your behalf separately - without having to agree with the other attorneys involved.
  • Jointly for certain decisions, jointly and severally for others: This means that your attorneys must make decisions jointly for certain decisions as stated in the LPA, but they do not have to make decisions together for other decisions not stated in the LPA.

If you have appointed your attorneys to act ‘jointly’, this means that you wish for your attorneys to act collectively and make decisions for you together, so if one attorney cannot act on your behalf due to an illness or death, the remaining attorney or attorneys will not be able to make joint decisions together.

If, however, your LPA states that your attorneys have been appointed ‘jointly and severally', if one attorney becomes unable to act on your behalf, the other attorneys are able to act for you regardless.

To sum up, if you’ve appointed your attorneys jointly, your LPA will not be valid so it cannot be used in the event you lose your ability to make decisions for yourself - in this situation, you will need to make a new LPA. If you’ve appointed them jointly and severally, the other attorney (or attorneys) will still be legally able to decide for you.

Make or Update Your LPA Today

If you only have one attorney

If you have only appointed one attorney in your LPA and they have become severely ill or they have passed away and you have not appointed a replacement attorney, you will have to make a brand new Lasting Power of Attorney before it is too late - the sooner you do this, the better.

Replacement attorney - Can I add an attorney to my LPA? 

If you have created an LPA, you can nominate a replacement attorney, or indeed, more than one whose duty it will be to step in if the original attorney (or one of) is unable to act because they have either died or now have an illness.

This replacement attorney will act according to whatever is stated in your LPA and it will depend on how your other, original attorneys have been appointed.

When can a replacement attorney step in?

If you have appointed your attorneys to act:

  • Jointly, all original attorneys must step down to allow the replacement attorney to take over all roles.
  • Jointly and severally, and one of the original attorneys is unable to act on your behalf, the replacement attorney will then take on their role instead.

Making a new Lasting Power of Attorney

If you need to make a new LPA because your original appointed attorney has passed away or has become really ill and unable to act on your behalf, we can help you here at Wills  Services.

As you can see from this guide, there can be quite a few complications with making a legally-binding Lasting Power of Attorney, so it is important that you get it right; that’s why we have a team of will experts on hand who are available to help answer any questions you may have, give advice and check over your LPA to ensure it is valid as per UK law.

If you need to make an LPA now, get started with us today by registering for free, or simply contact us to find out more.

What if I don’t make a new one?

If your attorney has become ill or passed away and you do not create a new LPA or add a replacement attorney to your existing LPA, this could create serious problems for your family and loved ones if you ever lose the ability to make everyday decisions on your own.

If you lose the mental capacity to act for yourself and you do not have an LPA or your LPA is invalid, your family will have to apply to the Court for what’s known as a ‘Deputyship Order’, which can turn out to be a very expensive and lengthy process and this will, no doubt, be very upsetting and difficult for your loved ones on top of coming to terms with the fact you have lost mental capacity.

If none of your loved ones or family wish to go through this difficult process, the duty will be passed onto the representatives of your Local Authority to arrange making decisions for you, which is very unlikely to be what you’d want.

Don’t leave it too late - you can only make an LPA while you still have complete mental capacity and you are able to make all decisions (regarding health, finances, etc) yourself. Look after yourself and your loved ones by putting a legally-valid plan in place today.