Peace of mind is just one thing you’ll gain from registering a Lasting Power of Attorney.
As the Office of the Public Guardian reports a drop in applications to register Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in 2020-21 due to social distancing measures making it difficult for people to complete the application, Private Client Solicitor Anne-Marie Worth discusses the many benefits of putting an LPA in place and why waiting is not a good idea.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs) are documents you can put in place that will allow your loved ones, and those who you trust, to take care of your finances and health & wellbeing if you ever become unable to do so yourself. You can only make an LPA while you still have mental capacity – after that, it’s too late. So, it’s important to act sooner rather than later.
The benefits of getting a Lasting Power of Attorney sorted.
You can appoint someone you trust
An LPA gives you peace of mind that someone you know, and importantly trust, oversees your affairs. Without an LPA in place, it’s left up to the courts to determine who should make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity.
Ensures you get the treatment you want
There can be serious repercussions to not having this important document in place when a serious illness strikes and you’re suddenly hospitalised. Urgent decisions may need to be made about your medical treatment or care – some of them life changing. For your loved ones, a health and welfare LPA will make these decisions quicker and easier.
Access to money when it is needed
If you are the primary earner and you became incapacitated would your essential bills be paid? In this situation it is likely that your partner, children, or friends would need urgent access to your bank accounts to ensure essential bills, such as energy, water, mobile phone and broadband, council tax, rent or mortgage payments continue to be paid.
In the long term, they would also need the authority to make big financial decisions such as selling your home. An LPA protects your loved ones from entering a legal limbo where they can’t make these crucial decisions about money.
If you’re no longer able to make financial decisions for yourself, you could become an easy target for fraudsters. Having an LPA in place means that someone is there to protect you from making decisions that might not be in your best interests.
Flexibility regarding financial decisions
Property and finance decisions can be made on your behalf even if you have mental capacity, provided you consent. Therefore, if you are still able to make these types of decisions yourself but feel you no longer want the burden of dealing with them, or you become physically incapacitated (as opposed to mentally), your financial attorneys can step in and deal with those matters for you. The financial LPA is therefore hugely flexible.
You can leave instructions
Having an LPA in place means you can leave instructions for your loved ones. If an attorney is presented with a choice, they can follow your wishes or any instructions you have left in your LPA, which are legally binding. So, if there is a particular care home you’d like to go to, or you have a specific preference on how your property should be dealt with, you can spell this out in your LPA and those wishes can be followed even if you have lost mental capacity.
You’ll save your loved ones a lot of emotional stress at a difficult time
Without an LPA, your loved ones will have to apply for a deputyship order at the Court of Protection. It is a more costly application than registering an LPA, the deputy is accountable to the court on an ongoing basis and an annual supervision fee applies. Applying for a deputyship order also takes considerably longer than registering an LPA.
Speak to our team today and get your LPAs in place giving you and your family the peace of mind that, should you become incapacitated, your loved ones are able to care for you and your finances in accordance with your wishes. Contact Anne-Marie Worth today on 01935 813 691 or Anne-Marie.Worth@mogersdrewett.com. We are here and able to help you get your affairs in order.