Separation and Lasting Powers of Attorney

“Till death do us part” is what we say when we exchange our marriage vows. But the truth is marriages don’t always last forever. And when it comes to an end, many other things do too. Like a lasting power of attorney. 

Normally, our spouse would take major healthcare and financial decisions for us if we get dementia or we’re not in the right physical state to make important decisions. 

But when we lose our spouse through divorce or separation, we can replace the current lasting power of attorney and appoint someone else to manage or take decisions about our finances and health in the best way possible. 

Let’s explore what a lasting power of attorney is and how it can protect our health and finances.


What is the Lasting Power of Attorney?

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone at least 21 years old (the donor or the principal) to appoint somebody (the donee or the attorney-in-fact) who is also at least 21 years of age to carry out immediate decisions on behalf of the donor on matters related to health and financial management. 

This kind of document is drawn when the donor wants to appoint someone to make decisions in case they are unable to do it themselves because of mental or physical incapacity. 


Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney

There are two types of lasting powers of attorney – LPA for healthcare decisions and LPA for property and financial decisions. 

Your donee makes health and care decisions for you when you don’t have the mental capacity to do so. Such decisions include:

● Medical treatment
● Life-saving treatment
● Care home or another place of residence
● People who can have contact with you
● What you should eat
● The type of social activities you can engage in

In financial decisions LPA, you can ask your doneeto make decisions for you even when you have the mental capability to do it. You can specify that your attorney can start to make financial decisions for you the moment your mental capacity is compromised. 


Financial decisions by the lasting power of attorney include:

● Mortgage payment
● Bills payment
● Investments 
● Buying and selling land and other property
● Property management and repair. 

Make sure to include in the terms that the attorney-in-fact should maintain separate accounts of yours and their money. All transaction details should be shared with either you or your family members specified by you. 

Separation and Lasting Powers of Attorney

Many people think that spouses are the next best person to assume the role of a lasting power of attorney. However, that’s not the case if there’s no legal document for it. 

Assuming you have appointed your spouse as the lasting power of attorney but your marriage ends in divorce. What happens then?

With the end of a marriage or a civil partnership, your spouse loses the lasting power of attorney authority. Even if you had given joint LPA to your ex-spouse and someone else, your current LPA would be void in the eyes of law. 

You can appoint someone whom you can trust completely to make important financial and healthcare decisions. Someone from your close circle of friends and family is a likely candidate. But think twice as your attorneys may have the power to sell your property. 

In the event you have nobody to trust well enough, you can get a professional lasting power of attorney to take care of your property and health. 

If you don’t have the LPA in place and you lose your mental abilities to make the right decisions, the legal system will appoint someone as your LPA. This process is known as deputyship and is far more expensive and time-consuming than having an LPA. 

Moreover, the court has the final say to decide who can be your LPA and it could be someone not to your liking.  


Steps to Set Up a Lasting Power of Attorney

To set up a lasting power of attorney, follow the steps below:

1. Pick someone you can trust to act on your behalf when you are not in a mental or physical state to do it. 
2. Check the state laws and jurisdiction. 
3. Get a witness when you sign the LPA. 
4. Put your initials on each page of the document although your state may not require you to do so. If you want to sign the document using a digital signature, make sure the laws in your state permit it. 
5. Make sure you are present when the witness and the notary put their initials on every page. 
6. Have the signed lasting power of attorney notarized. This means that a notary public puts an authority seal on the LPA to signal that it’s legal. Even if some states may not require notarization, you are strongly recommended to get your LPA notarized. 
7. An LPA need not be filed somewhere else when it comes to LPA for property management, it should be filed with the Land Titles Office or the County Clerk. Check which one is applicable in your state. 
8. Share copies of the LPA with your attorney, lawyer, and your close friends and family. Store the original document in a safe place like a fireproof cabinet or with your lawyer. 


Signing and notarization procedures differ between different states, therefore, you’re advised to check these in your state. Otherwise, your LPA may not be valid. This could prove to be problematic in case you get a divorce later and end up without anyone to handle your medical and financial decisions.  



Accidents are just that – accidents. You never know when you could become invalid either mentally or physically. When such situations strike us, there’s little we can do. 

But what we can do is have a lasting power of attorney ready and waiting to be executed. This written document has the power to control how your finances and health are managed when you’re not capable. 

Even though your spouse could take these decisions for you, a separation or a divorce ends that authority. Therefore, it’s smart to have a new lasting power of attorney in place as soon you can after your divorce.

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