A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint individuals you trust (Attorneys’) to make decisions for you if you no longer wish to do so for yourself or if you reach a point where you are no longer able to make decisions. There are two types of LPA, one is in relation to your property and finances and the other one is in relation to your health and welfare. You don’t have to have both types of LPA although it is wise to consider having both in place.
Despite popular belief, LPAs are not just for the elderly. Planning ahead can ease the potential burden on your loved ones in case of a sudden injury or illness. It is always a good idea to have an LPA in place at an early stage when you have the choice of appointing someone you love and trust to this position, otherwise the Court of Protection may intervene and manage your financial affairs for you or the Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection may not have been your choice for dealing with your affairs.
The benefits of having an LPA in place are:
- Saving Money – Without an LPA your family members may have no say in how your money is to be spent as the Court of Protection may step in to manage your finances and the legal fees in obtaining a Deputyship Order are generally considerably more than the cost of putting an LPA in place. It will also be necessary for the Deputy to make annual reports and obtain valuations of your assets, all of which add considerably to the cost of handling your affairs on your behalf.
- Peace of mind – It’s always better to have someone that you trust and have chosen yourself to manage your affairs rather than someone appointed by the Court of Protection or the local authority who you’ve never met before.
- Save distress to your family – Your loved ones will find it very difficult to manage your financial affairs for you if you don’t have a Property & Financial Affairs LPA as they will have no legal authority to do so. This will only add to the stress if they are unable to access finances to manage your personal needs due to an incapacity. Many health professionals will only deal with family members in respect of your Health & Welfare when you lack capacity if you have a Health & Welfare LPA in place. Without one your loved ones may have no say in your health care. A Health & Welfare LPA also provides you with the ability to allow your Attorneys to give or withold consent to life sustaining treatment when you lack capacity to make the decision for yourself.
- Prevent financial hardship to your family – If one of the joint account holders looses mental capacity, the other account holder doesn’t automatically have a right of access unless an LPA was made prior to the incapacity or there’s a Court of Protection Order. If the joint account is frozen this could result in a significant financial hardship for a spouse or a partner who will have no access to the monies in the account which they may require for their daily living expenses.
If you have any questions about LPAs contact Angie Newnham today on 01202 877 400!