Why you need a Lasting Powers of Attorney
A recent study carried out by Office of the Public Guardian* concluded that while approximately 40% of the UK population have a Will, only 1% have Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in place.
Many of those surveyed did not know what an LPA is, and those that did, believed that they would never need to set up the documents.
This is quite an alarming statistic, as an LPA is not only a precaution you can put in place to ensure that only people you trust take care of you and your finances if you become unable to do so yourself, but the implications of not having an LPA are costly delays and increased stress for your loved ones at a difficult time.
Chartered Legal Executive, Kat King, sets out the main reasons why everyone should take the time and put in place an LPA right now in her latest article.
Take control of who looks after your affairs
By making LPAs, you get to choose the persons (called Attorneys) who will have the authority to look after your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself. An LPA will ensure that only those who you trust and feel comfortable with will be able to act on your behalf if you were unable, putting you in complete control.
If no LPA is in place and you are unable to deal with your own affairs, an application will have to be made to the Court to appoint someone to act for you. You will have no say in who that person is, and so you could end up with someone who you would not wish to make decisions for you looking after your affairs.
Choose the right people to manage your affairs
Making decisions on behalf of someone who is unable to is difficult and depending on the circumstances this could be hard for loved ones to take on. Therefore, it is important that you choose those who are not only willing, but importantly able to take on the task. For this reason, it is important to appoint people who you trust and will feel comfortable with acting for you.
LPAs cover two separate types of decisions:
- Property & Financial Affairs – this document deals with financial decisions, i.e., operating bank accounts, making investment decisions, liaising with pension providers, paying bills, buying or selling a property; and
- Health & Welfare – this document deals with decisions regarding matters such as medical treatment, what medication should be taken, where you should live, and also includes decisions about life-sustaining treatment.
By putting both types of LPAs, you will be covered both in terms of your financial well-being but also in relation to your health and welfare, giving you complete peace of mind.
Avoid costly Court fees and long delays
As indicated above, if you are unable to deal with your own affairs and you don’t have an LPA in place, an application would have to be made to the Court for a Deputy to be appointed. Deputyship applications are very time consuming, expensive, and complicated.
A helping hand if you need it
So far as your finances are concerned, while you still have capacity, you could ask your Attorneys to help you with your financial matters, for example, to sign documents for you or speak with your bank, if you can’t do so yourself.
While you still have capacity, your Attorneys can only act on your behalf if you ask them to do so, and with your consent. Only if you lose the ability to make your own decisions would your Attorneys take over making financial decisions for you.
You are never too young for an LPA
Many people think they are too young to make LPAs but none of us know what the future holds and so waiting is risky for everyone regardless of age. LPAs can only be made if you have the necessary mental capacity and if, for whatever reason, that capacity is lost, you will not be able to make LPAs.
LPAs need to be registered with the Court to be valid, and the registration process itself usually takes 8-10 weeks. Therefore, if you do leave making LPAs until such time that they are required (and you still have the necessary mental capacity to put them in place), you will need to wait a few months for the documents to be ready for use and, therefore, delay your Attorneys’ being able to help you.
Peace of mind for you and your loved ones
Think of LPAs as if they were an insurance policy. Once you have made LPAs, and the documents have been registered, you can simply file them away and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if anything should happen, they are in place to make things easier for you and for your loved ones.
We insure all aspects of our daily lives in case the ‘worst’ should happen, so why not our ability to make decisions?
To discuss making a Lasting Powers of Attorney or if you have any questions, please get in touch with Kat King on 01749 341805 or email email@example.com.