Whenever I discuss with clients whether or not they have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place, I usually get one of three responses:
“My parents have just done something like that recently, it’s for older people” or, “What’s a Lasting Power of Attorney”? or, “I don’t need to worry about that, I already have a Will”.
I would really like to dispel the misconception that having an LPA in place is for the elderly or infirm. An LPA is like an insurance policy in some respects – you may never need to use it, but you will be thankful you have it if ever there is a time you need to use it.
A Lasting Power of Attorney takes two forms – one allows you to “donate” your power to your attorney (you can have more than one) to make decisions about your property and financial affairs (including savings and investments); the other enables you to appoint attorneys to act for you to make decisions about your health and personal care should you ever lose the mental capacity to make those decisions for yourself.
I can’t express how imperative it is to have an LPA in place. Imagine if you had a stroke, or accident that left you unable to communicate your wishes or understand the implications of a particular treatment or course of action. Imagine if your loved ones had no legal authority to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment or where you would live if you could no longer live at home and those decisions were left up to people who did not know you.
Equally, if you own a business or do not have a joint account with your partner or husband or wife, then without an LPA, the banks may not permit access to those accounts and your bills would not get paid.
Having an LPA in place ensures that should anything happen to you that affects your mental capacity, there are people you have appointed to look after your affairs to step in and make decisions on your behalf. If there is no LPA in place then it is an expensive process to go through the Courts to apply to become a Deputy. For the sake of a few hundred pounds now to create a Lasting Power of Attorney, could save you thousands later if your family have to go through the Courts to get permission to deal with your affairs.
At Chilcotts Law, we have the experience and expertise to help you in this specialist area of practice. If you would like more information about creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, please feel free to call us to speak with one of our team.