Should you become too ill to manage your own affairs, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives one or more people the right to manage your financial affairs and make decisions about your welfare, such as switching off a life-support machine.
This right cannot be used to make gifts, except for birthdays and Christmas, and the money cannot be spent on the person managing the affairs.
If there is not an LPA in place, then an application can be made to act on behalf of the individual. This is an expensive and time-consuming process, with the court remaining in overall charge of the affairs – so it will be involved in any decisions outside of the day-to-day running of the estate.
For this reason, it is generally better to ensure that a valid LPA is made whilst the person doing so still retains the necessary mental capacity.