It might not be something that any of us want to think about but preparing for the unexpected now could be of massive benefit in the future.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to choose a trusted individual to manage your affairs should you become incapacitated through accident or illness.
Anyone over the age of 18 can put an LPA in place but you can only do so while you have the mental capacity. Putting one in place now could give you and your family enormous peace of mind.
Types of LPA:
- A Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA covers things like your daily routine, medical care, and moving into a care home.
- A Property and Financial Affairs LPA
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your chosen attorney to manage your finances, pay bills, and collect benefits on your behalf.
Five reasons why you should put an LPA in place
1. Speedy decisions
If you become incapacitated with an LPA in place, your chosen attorney can take over the running of your affairs straight away. As long as it is registered, you and your family will be instantly looked after.
Without an LPA in place, your wishes aren’t legally known, and your family won’t have the security you’d wish for them. Instead, a deputy will need to be appointed. This involves an often time-consuming application to the Court of Protection.
It can take up to three months from the point the Court of Protection receives the application for a deputy to be appointed. This is a time during which your loved ones could be facing financial hardship.
The process of appointing a deputy will also cost your family up to £365 compared to the cost of £82 to register an LPA yourself. There could be significant legal fees too.
2. It puts you in control
It can be distressing to think about a time when you might be incapable of making financial decisions for yourself.
An LPA is an opportunity to make decisions about your financial affairs while you have the mental capacity to do so. You will have the peace of mind that you have appointed an attorney you can trust, that your affairs will be looked after in line with your wishes, and that there was no element of coercion.
An LPA doesn’t just give you control over who you appoint. It allows you to be specific about the sorts of decisions your attorney can make too, giving you added protection. You might want to exclude decisions on certain elements of your finances such as property, for example, or end of life care.
It’s important to note though, that a Health and Welfare LPA is only triggered when you are incapacitated. From that point on, you are unable to make changes to it (unless you can prove mental capacity in the future).
Think carefully about the impact that any restrictions could have in the long term and be sure you are happy with the stipulations you have made before the LPA is triggered.
We can help you think about the sorts of restrictions you might look to put in place, so contact us if you’d like to discuss this.
3. You choose who looks after your affairs
You don’t have to limit yourself to just one attorney. You can nominate multiple people, as well as successors, to protect yourself if something happens to your original choice of attorney in the future.
You can also specify whether your attorneys can act individually or whether they must all agree on a decision. You can think about specific areas that you might need help in and pick people who have the expertise to help with each element of your care.
If you own a business, for example, you might appoint a colleague or business partner specifically to look after your business interests. The same person might be prohibited from dealing with your personal finances.
In this situation, you might also consider a third type of LPA: a business LPA.
This could help to ensure the continued success of your business by assigning key tasks to responsible and qualified individuals.
4. It can be lasting or temporary
As well as long-term conditions such as dementia, an LPA can also be used for temporary hospitalisation or recovery from an accident.
A Health and Welfare LPA is triggered once you become unable to make decisions yourself. A Property and Finance LPA can come into force whenever you choose (although the registering process can take up to three months).
A temporary LPA can be removed or altered once you can prove mental capacity.
5. Peace of mind
Register an LPA once and it can remain in place for your lifetime.
You have peace of mind that your financial affairs and wellbeing will be looked after if you are no longer able. And because you have chosen your attorney, you know you can trust them to act in your best interests.
Get in touch
At HA&W we help you to set up an LPA that covers the eventualities you choose, and that names the people best placed to help you and your loved ones. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss any aspect of putting an LPA in place.