A Lasting Power of Attorney is an essential legal document which helps protect your interests during your life. Many people consider it as important as a Will and see it as one of the final pieces in the process of planning and protecting their estate.
Whilst a Will describes what happens when we die, we seldom think about who would manage our affairs, or make decisions regarding our welfare, should we not be able to do so ourselves..
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – one deals with property and financial affairs and the other with health and personal welfare. By using one or both of these documents you can appoint whom you wish to manage your affairs and to make decisions regarding your medical treatment and welfare if and when you can no longer make decisions yourself. It’s not just in old age when this can be needed as both illness and accident can strike unexpectedly.
The simplest way of determining whether you might benefit from this document would be to ask yourself the question:
“If I couldn’t manage my affairs, who would have legal permission to do so for me?”
This is very different from people just wanting to help. Banks, pension providers, investment providers, HMRC, utility companies, Local Authorities, GPs and consultants won’t speak to such people unless they have legal authority. This can only be given through a registered Lasting Power of Attorney.
We will be pleased to take you through the process of setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney and registering it with the Office of the Public Guardian.
If you lose mental capacity, through illness or injury, and haven’t created an LPA:
• you’ll no longer be able to decide who makes decisions for you (you can only make your LPA while you still have mental capacity).
• people you don’t know would end up making crucial decisions for you instead – such as where you live, whether to accept medical treatment to keep you alive, what you eat and wear, about your finances, savings and investments and your property.
• your spouse, children or friends would have to go to court to make decisions on your behalf – which can be a lot more expensive and time-consuming than making an LPA.
Many of us would like to plan for a time when we need help making decisions. A stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, a heart attack, and many other conditions, or a severe accident can leave us dependent upon other people to help make crucial choices in our lives. Or we may need to give someone decision-making power for us if, say, we’re going to be in hospital or abroad for a time and can’t easily carry out decisions for ourselves. To plan for the future, you create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a simple way for you to choose someone you trust to make decisions for you. LPAs can be a lot less expensive than other ways for people to make decisions on your behalf and can make things much easier for other people in your life than the alternatives.
Anyone potentially. Illnesses and medical conditions such as dementia can leave us reliant on other people to make decisions. The Alzheimer’s Society predicts dementia will rise to more than one million by 2025. Every 90 seconds someone is admitted to hospital in the UK with a brain injury – traffic or contact-sport accidents are examples.
An LPA is a legal document in which you name the people you’d like to make decisions for you when you don’t want to or can’t make some decisions yourself. You can make LPAs for decisions about your:
- property and financial affairs
- health and welfare
You can create an LPA to be used only if you can no longer make your own decisions – known as losing ‘mental capacity’. Or you can make an LPA to be used for certain decisions – financial ones – while you still have mental capacity.