Questions for the donor, what should the donor be asking when including preferences and instructions in their Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?  Giving an attorney the authority to make decisions on your behalf is an onerous position.  When you are giving that authority you should do as much as you can to assist the attorney in doing their job.

So, following on from our article on preferences and instructions, this article talks about what information you need to collate for the attorney, for when they need it.  The LPA form tells you that preferences and instructions are optional and that “Most people leave this page blank – you can just talk to your attorneys so they understand how you want them to make decisions for you”.  If you just talk to your attorneys, however, there is no record of what your preferences and instructions are.  So, this is a very important part of the form.

Property and Finance

Here are some points that you may want to consider:

  • Make sure that your trusted advisers e.g. your solicitor, accountant and financial adviser know who your attorney is so, when the time comes it makes it easier to identify them.
  • Likewise, that your attorney knows who your trusted advisers are.
  • You could have these advisers notified in the LPA itself.  That then creates a record.
  • Write down the account details for each account you have and how much is in them.
  • Make sure that the log-in details are lodged with someone where they can be easily access if need be (but, are obviously protected whilst you have capacity).  See our article Don’t be a digital zombie:  Pass on your passwords.
  • Download a copy of the Life Book published by Age UK.
  • Make sure you periodically update the information.
  • Consider allowing the attorney to be able to charge for their services especially if your affairs are complicated or business related.

The Life Book

This is a free booklet from Age UK where you can write down important and useful information about your life.  This can include your bank account details, who insures your car and where you put the TV Licence!  This will make it much easier for your attorney to be able to deal with your affairs.  Not forgetting that they have to do this to help you so, it would be great if you can help them as much as you can.

You can either download it here or order a printed copy, you can do this by calling: 0800 678 1602.

Health and Wellbeing

Here are some points that you may want to consider:

  • Who should your attorney consult when making decisions?
  • Are there any things that you particularly do/ do not like?
  • Prescriptions for glasses and dentures.
  • Discuss where you want to live in the future.
  • Do you want to stay at home as long as possible? You can stipulate that only your doctor can decide if you have to go into a care home.
  • Who are your health care providers e.g. dentist, GP and optician?
  • Do you have an existing advanced decision?
  • Discuss your wishes about Do Not Resuscitate.

A letter of wishes

If you do not want to commit to preferences or instructions in the LPA itself, you could write a letter of wishes or a side letter.  This is not legally binding but, it will act as guidance for your attorney.  Your attorney has to act in your best interests and has to take into account your wishes, unless they have reason to make an alternative decision.  So, the fewer ambiguities there are the easier it will be for your attorney to act in your best interests.

Legal Advice

If you are at all concerned about making preferences or leaving instructions in your LPA, it is best to consult a legal professional or trusted adviser to help you.

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