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Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

Have you considered what might happen if accident, illness or old age left you incapable of making decisions or managing your financial affairs, and you didn’t have Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place?

The answer is that someone would have to apply to the Court of Protection for a ‘Deputy’ to be appointed to manage your financial affairs. The application is lengthy and can take several months to process.

We all know that we should have a Will, but many of us do not think about making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), which is equally as important as a Will.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document allowing you to appoint someone you trust (your Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf should you become mentally incapable of dealing with your affairs. Many believe that they do not need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) until they are elderly, unfortunately, this is not always the case. You can become mentally incapable of dealing with your affairs if you have an accident or through illness or mental confusion.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), and you can choose whether to make one or both types:

  1. Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)  

This allows your Attorney to make decisions about your property and financial affairs. This may include paying your bills and potentially, selling your house. You can put restrictions and conditions on your Attorney’s powers in the LPA if you wish.

  1. Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

This allows your Attorney to make decisions about your personal welfare, which may include giving or refusing consent to medical treatment. Decisions under a Personal Welfare LPA can only be made on your behalf when you lack the capacity to make them yourself.

Many people also believe that their spouse, Registered Civil Partner or ‘next of kin’ can automatically make these decisions, however, this is not the case. You might ask them to do certain things, but if you become unable to give instructions, they will not have the authority to continue to handle your financial and personal affairs or to make important decisions. This even applies to joint accounts.

What are the benefits of making Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)?

By making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) whilst you are mentally alert you have the knowledge that, should you become ill and cannot deal with your affairs, your Attorney will be able to step in and look after everything for you until you recover. We would recommend that you have your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) drawn up by a professional legal practitioner. Just like a Will, there are certain stipulations which need to be met to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) valid.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) can be registered at any time, but the benefit of registering it immediately after it is made is that your Attorney can use it as soon as the need arises, rather than having to wait for registration to be completed.

Appointing an Attorney – What do you need to consider?

Before making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), consider who you want to appoint as your Attorney. A donor is advised to appoint a trustworthy Attorney whom they know and trust, such as a close relative or friend who will carry out their duties in the correct manner. Please see our helpful DO’s and DON’Ts for the Donor and Attorneys, to help minimise the risk of abuse.

How do I start making a Lasting Power of Attorney with Steeles Law?

Our advice is to act now, sensitive to the issues involved, we have the expertise and experience to guide you through the options available. We would always recommend that you consider making Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). It would be a mistake to believe you don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) until you’re elderly, in fact, the earlier you make one, the better prepared you are for every eventuality.

We are happy for you to ask us any questions and should you wish to make one, please contact our dedicated Wills, Trusts and Probate team on 01603 59800 or by emailing probate@steeleslaw.co.uk. Appointments are available at our Diss, Norwich and London offices or home visits by appointment.

 

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