The Importance of Making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
It is never pleasant looking so far ahead into the future and considering what might happen if you were to ever become incapacitated, but making and registering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is just as important as making a Will.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document appointing one or more Attorneys to act for you and look after your affairs if you suffer loss of mental capacity or feel that you would like some help to manage your affairs. The Attorneys you nominate could be relatives or trusted friends that you feel comfortable leaving in charge of communicating your wishes, representing you and managing your affairs.
There are two types of LPA. One enables your Attorneys to make financial decisions; the other to make health and care decisions. To be valid, both must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian.
If you nominate more than one Attorney, you can appoint them so that they act independently of each other, or together, depending on what is appropriate. You can decide which responsibilities each of them has, and in which circumstances you will require them to start acting, although care should be taken in this case to avoid any confusion which could render the LPA invalid.
An LPA allows you to determine:
- The decisions you want to be made on your behalf, such as:
- Where you live
- Selling your home
- Finance Management
- Healthcare requirements
- The people who will make these decisions on your behalf
- How and when you want these named people to make these decisions
When Should I Arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA cannot be made by someone who has already lost mental capacity. If this occurs, close relatives and next of kin will have no legal authority to manage that person’s affairs and will have to apply to become a Deputy through the Court of Protection. This is a lengthy and expensive process.
It is much better for both you and your family to have an LPA sooner rather than later. It can provide peace of mind for all parties, ensuring that your decisions and affairs will be managed effectively. These legally binding documents are recognised by both financial and medical institutions, so you can avoid problems and issues can be dealt with quickly.
Life is unpredictable, and accidents can happen at any time. By having LPAs in place as soon as possible, you can reduce the risk of burdening your loved ones with a costly application to the Court of Protection and having little or no control over your important decisions.
How Do I Get a Lasting Power of Attorney?
To make sure that all responsibilities are covered, it is best to seek advice from a solicitor who can draw up and assist you to apply for your LPA. If there are underlying family issues, complex or business assets involved or other individual circumstances that need to be considered, seeking expert legal advice will help decide the best course of action for you.
If you need any help or advice regarding your application for a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate department by telephoning 01284 763333.