Why_ you_ need_ to_ have_ Lasting_ Powers_ of_ Attorney
In a previous blog we wrote about the importance of having an up to date Will and the consequences your family may face if you don’t have a Will.
At the same time as writing your Will you should also create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). The LPA is a legal document which authorises someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to due to loss of mental or physical capacity.
The different LPAs
There are two types of LPAs which give your attorneys the power to take care of the following scenarios:
- Property and financial affairs – paying bills, managing your bank accounts, pensions and investments or selling your property.
- Health and welfare – arranging how you will be cared for on a daily basis (e.g. eating, personal hygiene, clothing, medication etc.), ongoing medical and health care, moving you into a suitable care or nursing home when necessary and deciding on life-sustaining treatment.
You can decide whether you want to have an LPA in force for one or both of the above scenarios. You can also have different attorneys for each LPA.
The process for arranging an LPA
- Firstly, you must be 18 years or over and have the ability to make your own decisions.
- You will need to appoint your attorney(s) for one or both of the LPA documents.
- You should complete the Property and Financial Affairs and/or the Health and Welfare LPAs and get your appointed Attorney(s) to sign them.
- The completed LPAs must be sent to and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. There will be a charge for this unless you qualify for an exemption.
- It can take up to 10 weeks for your LPA forms to be registered.
- Once the forms are registered they remain in place until they may be needed by your attorneys or you make any changes or cancel them.
Whilst you can create your LPA online at www.lastingpowerofattorney.service.gov.uk/home we would recommend getting a professional to oversee the process as it can be quite a daunting and confusing process if you are not familiar with the legal terms which are used.
Don’t leave it until it’s too late
All too often people don’t make an LPA because at the time they are in good health and assume that they will be for the foreseeable future. However, our lives can suddenly turn upside down due to accidents or illness.
If something happens to you and you are not able to make your own decisions anymore and you do not have an LPA in place, your family or the authorities will have to apply to the courts. In doing so they have to ask for permission to be able to make decisions for you and to access your finances to cover the costs of your care. This whole process can take weeks or months and can prove very expensive. In can also be incredibly frustrating for your family who may know what you would like to do if you were able to make those decisions, but instead they have to wait for the courts to allow them to act upon your wishes.
The best time to create your LPA document is when you make your Will or are reviewing your Will. This will give you peace of mind that your future healthcare, finances and your overall estate will be taken care of as you intended, as and when you are no longer able to make decisions or you have passed away.
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