Many of us realise the importance of writing a Will and keeping it up-to-date. Yet few of us give the same level of consideration for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s). Here we explain why having an LPA can be equally important in managing your assets and wellbeing in the future.
What is an LPA?
An LPA is a legal document allowing any individual(s) of your choice, your “attorney(s)”, to make decisions on your behalf, should you lose the capacity. You may choose anybody as your attorney, so long as: –
- They are over the age of 18;
- They have the mental capacity to undertake important decisions on your behalf;
- They are not bankrupt or subject to a Debt Relief Order;
An LPA is used by your Attorneys during your lifetime and comes to an end upon your death.
5 reasons you should make an LPA
Dementia is becoming more common amongst our population. It is estimated that by 2025 over a million people in the UK will suffer from the disease. Diseases affecting an individual’s mental capacity are not just confined to the elderly. It is thought that there are 40,000 younger people in the UK with dementia. If you lose your mental capacity, family and friends may want to make financial and welfare decisions for you. To make such decisions they will need to be appointed as an Attorney under a registered LPA. You must have sufficient understanding as to the nature and purpose of an LPA (i.e. sufficient Mental Capacity) in order to make one. Taking steps to put LPAs in place whilst you are healthy will give you peace of mind. Those you chose will be able to make decisions on your behalf should you need it in the future.
Ease the burden on relatives
It would undoubtedly be an upsetting experience for your loved ones if you were to lose mental capacity. Having an LPA ensures that your nominated Attorneys can see that your financial and welfare decisions are managed without delay or difficulty as soon as it is necessary.
When making an LPA, you can leave instructions or guidance to your Attorneys to assist them in their decision making. You can make clear requests and state any specific instructions regarding matters which are important to you, for example the refusal of certain medical treatments. An LPA entitles you to maintain a degree of power over what happens to you despite lacking mental capacity. It offers you peace of mind that trusted individuals you have chosen will always act in your best interests.
Choosing people you trust to make important decisions
It is entirely your own choice who you appoint as your attorney and you may appoint more than one. You can choose anyone, from a relative to a professional. It is important that you trust your Attorney to always act in your best interests. You can remove (meaning cancel) at any time as long as you still have the mental capacity to do so.
A cheaper alternative
If you lose mental capacity and do not have a valid LPA an individual would only be able to legally manage your financial affairs and welfare decision if they are appointed by the Court. This is known as a Deputyship application. Not only will you have no choice in as to who your Deputy might be, these Court proceedings tend to be fairly lengthy and costly. The creation of an LPA will radically reduce the cost and remove any stress to those who now wish to help manage your affairs.
If you do not have an LPA and would like to discuss creating one with one of our solicitors, please contact us on 01642 233980 to arrange a free 15-minute appointment. [We have recently reduced our fees for creating an LPA and hope that this will encourage more people to do so].