Let’s talk about the importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Many people associate this with something you do as you get ‘old’ but it’s just as important if you have a young family or are in the prime of your life. We have all seen in recent years that the unexpected can turn things upside down, which was well documented by the experience of TV presenter Kate Garraway and her husband Derek Draper, when he suffered a terrible reaction to Covid.
In the unfortunate event that something should happen, being prepared and having a legal safeguard in place will ensure that your wishes are upheld, and everyday life can continue as normally as possible for those left behind.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney – one covering health and welfare and the other covering property and finances. You can make an LPA for one or both, depending on your needs. The LPA grants the Attorney(s) the authority to act on your behalf in making crucial decisions about your life and so it is extremely important that you choose people who you believe will act in your best interests. You can choose to have more than one Attorney and if so, they can make decisions jointly or separately. You can also appoint different Attorneys for Health and Welfare than for Property and Finances.
An LPA can only be instructed whilst a person has full mental capacity, so it is of the utmost importance that it is put in place sooner rather than later.
The key reasons for having an LPA in place are: –
Decision-making in times of incapacity
This can involve handling financial matters, managing assets and investments, paying bills, and even making medical decisions, ensuring your best interests are protected.
Ensuring continuity and efficiency
It helps avoid potential disruptions in managing personal or business affairs.
Ensuring your personal preferences are respected
Depending on your preferences, it can be limited to specific tasks or extended to encompass broad decision-making powers.
Protection against financial abuse and exploitation
It provides a layer of protection against potential abuse, as you choose someone you trust implicitly, and they are legally bound to act responsibly and ethically.
Facilitating end-of-life decisions
An LPA can play a vital role in facilitating end-of-life decisions. By designating a healthcare proxy through a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney, you can ensure your medical treatment preferences are honoured and your quality of life is respected, even when you cannot communicate your desires.
Creating an LPA offers the additional benefit of potential long-term cost savings. Without one, a loss of capacity might necessitate your family to seek power from the Court of Protection to make decisions on your behalf, which can be very expensive.
We would always recommend seeking the advice of a solicitor when completing and registering your LPA. However, if it is something you would like to handle yourself, we have put together some information for you. To access our notes on completing your LPA please click here.
If you would like an introduction to a solicitor, that we work with and would recommend, please let us know and we’ll put you in touch.