Why make Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Appointing an Attorney, by making Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), used to be something that elderly people did in case they developed Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Now it’s what legally-aware people of any age do to ensure that their family and assets are safe if they ever lose mental capacity.
Even temporary incapacity can lead to severe financial problems if you are no longer able to manage your assets on a daily basis. If you are married, your spouse will face your finances being frozen even if you have a joint account. At a time of great anguish and confusion – you will have left your loved ones to cope with a financial nightmare – rather than sorting things out.
By putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place we protect ourselves and our loved ones. Not only will it save time, it will help ensure that everything runs smoothly if you ever lack capacity.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows one person (‘the donor’) to appoint another (‘the attorney’) to make decisions on his or her behalf. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides for two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, for:
- Health and Welfare; and
- Property and Financial Affairs.
Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney
This allows you to choose one or more people to help make decisions about:
- your daily routine
- your medical care
- creating a care package for you
- having life-sustaining treatment
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney
This lets you choose one person or more to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
- paying household bills
- collecting benefits
- changing property
- dealing with your Bank
If you are making an LPA in respect of your business affairs, it makes sense to appoint someone who is familiar with the business. For example, the partners in a business could appoint each other, or you could appoint someone in your family who knows the business well. You can also choose more than one Attorney who could act jointly or separately from each other. The choice is yours.
There are prescribed safeguards that are built into the process of creating Lasting Powers of Attorney, both at the time the power is prepared and at the time of registration. The most important safeguard is the requirement that an independent person (the certificate provider) certifies that the donor understands the purpose of the LPA and the scope of the authority given to the attorneys, and that there is no undue pressure.
LPAs relating to your Property and Financial affairs and Health and Welfare must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian regardless of your mental capacity in order for them to be valid. Once that’s done, then you will have peace of mind that should anything happen to you – your Attorney can act on your behalf.
If you were to become incapacitated, then without an LPA, an application would have to be made to the Court of Protection in order for someone to be appointed as your deputy. This process can take months and the costs involved are much higher than those involved in obtaining a Lasting Power of Attorney. In the meantime, who knows what will happen to your family, your home, your business?
For a free initial consultation about Lasting Powers of Attorney and Estate Planning, please contact Teresa Jones on 01691 238701/ 07896032419 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org