Many people think that LPAs (Lasting Powers of Attorney) are just for the elderly who are of declining mental health. But the truth is that we really all should have an LPA just as much as we should have a Will.
In our latest blog we explore what an LPA is and the reasons why we believe we should all have one.
What is an LPA?
An LPA is a legal document appointing someone as your legal representative in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to deal with your own affairs. Incapacity could come from old age, but also from a brain injury or a physical injury following an accident or illness that means that you are unable to communicate your wishes or manage your own day to day affairs.
LPAs can give an appointed person (who you choose) the power to deal with matters covering finances and health and wellbeing such as medical treatment and living arrangements.
LPAs do not give the appointed person instant power over your affairs. It’s use needs to be triggered – this is often by a medical diagnosis of incapacity.
So why should we all have an LPA?
- You are in control of the LPA
When creating your LPA you name the person (or persons, as you can have more than one attorney) you want as your attorney – someone you trust to deal with your affairs in your best interests. If you lose capacity without an LPA the Court of Protection would be left to appoint who they think is the most appropriate attorney for you. That may not necessarily be the same person that you would have chosen.
Further, when creating your LPA, you set the limits of the attorney’s power. You can give them the ability to deal with matters relating to your finances/property and/or your personal welfare. You do not have to give power over both and you can limit power as you see fit (although it’s a good idea to consider any limitation carefully so as not to restrict power so much as to make it impossible to exercise).
- Court of Protection
Many people worry about giving another person too much power over their assets and affairs. Firstly, it is important to bear in mind that the LPA would only be triggered by your own incapacity. Secondly, the Court of Protection can revoke LPAs of they see fit. The Office of the Public Guardian can be informed of an abuse of power and intervene so there are in essence three ‘layers’ of protection for individuals with active LPAs.
- It’s quicker than a court application
If you don’t have an LPA and you lose capacity, those close to you would need to make an application to the Court of Protection to be able to deal with your affairs. The process can be costly and is always time-consuming. Families would not have access to any of your assets in the meantime which may leave them out of pocket if immediate care/treatment needs funding. An LPA avoids the need for an application to Court as families would have the necessary authority already.
- Peace of mind
The thought of losing capacity is an uncomfortable one. But it is vital to think about these things when you are in good health and capable of making sensible decisions. Having an LPA in place is the best way to ensure that your affairs are dealt with as you wish should the worst happen giving both you and your family peace of mind.
At Sherrey and Associates we advise all our clients to make an LPA as well as a Will for full protection and peace of mind for both themselves and their families. For more information about both our Will writing service and LPAs, please contact the office on Worcester 01905 349217 or Wolverhampton 01902 302969.