A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is not just for the elderly
People presume that they may need to make an LPA only if they are getting old and are worried about dementia but LPAs are not just for the elderly. Sadly, mental and physical incapacity can be suffered at any stage in life through accident or illness.
As we do not know what is around the corner it is very important to consider who would look after our financial affairs and personal welfare if we are unable to make decisions.
What is an LPA?
An LPA gives someone (often a relative or close friend) the power to act on your behalf if you are unable to act and make decisions due to mental incapacity. The person given the power is called an attorney.
You can plan ahead by putting in place an LPA.
There are two types of LPA:
1. Property and Financial Affairs
This covers decisions in respect of finances and property and would include:
- paying bills
- collecting income benefits
- buying or selling property
- opening, closing and running bank accounts
- investing money
2. Health and Welfare
This covers decisions in respect of health and welfare and could include:
- decisions relating to where you live
- the type/level of day to day care received
- it may also specify that an attorney can accept or refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf
In both cases, an LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it becomes valid. A Health and Welfare LPA can only be used once capacity has been lost.
Why make an LPA?
- Peace of mind –if you have an LPA in place there will be someone you trust who will have the power to make important decision on your behalf should you lose capacity.
- You choose your attorney – if you lose the capacity to manage your own affairs and have not made an LPA then someone not chosen by you may make an application to be appointed as your deputy (a person appointed by the Court of Protection). By putting in place an LPA, you ensure that a person you trust has the authority to act rather than an unknown third party or someone you do not want.
- Preventing problems in the future – it can be very expensive and time consuming (as well as stressful) for a family member or friend to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your deputy after you have lost capacity.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss putting in place an LPA then do contact us for a no obligation conversation and we will be able to give you an estimate of the costs involved.