A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is “… a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity at some time in the future or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.” – Age UK. There are two types of LPA, one that covers financial decisions, and one that covers health and welfare decisions. To understand a little more about what an LPA is, please do read our article here.
However, even if you know what an LPA is, you may not be sure if you should bother setting one up just yet. If you’re thinking like that, here’s some food for thought.
- An LPA is only valid if you had the mental capacity to set it up when it was set up – Once it reaches the point that your mental capacity cannot be verified, it is too late.
- Mental and physical incapacity can hit at any time – This isn’t written to scare you, it’s just one of those things. Accident or illness can strike without warning. If you do not have either type of LPA in place, your family may struggle to gain access to your bank accounts, pay your bills, or make payments on your behalf for your mortgage, etc.
- Delays and expense – Without an LPA relatives can face long delays and suffer considerable expense if they have to apply through the Court of Protection to get access and control of your assets and finances. This is likely to be the last thing they want to have to deal with when times are tough.
- The LPA system makes things easier – LPAs are designed to be recognised by official bodies like care homes, HMRC, banks, local authorities, pension providers etc. Once an LPA has been verified, taking action on your behalf becomes much easier for your attorneys.
- They are not expensive to set up – A small cost to you now will save your family a lot of money in the long term.
- A financial LPA enables you to retain a lot of control over your affairs – You can, of course, give your chosen attorney(s) free reign, or you can restrict their decision making capacity by specifying your wishes clearly.
- You don’t need to be incapacitated for a financial LPA to operate – This can be very useful. For example, if you’re on holiday and something happens to your home, your nominated person can take action on your behalf.
- A health LPA enables you to retain a lot of control over your welfare – You can be very specific about your care, even on day to day matters. For example, you can set out what your day to day routine should be, what you should be given to eat, and who can visit you.
- An LPA is a legal document that has to be verified – This will give you peace of mind. They have to be signed by a certificate provider or solicitor, which means they are ‘vetted’ by qualified specialists. Plus LPAs cannot be amended or set up by someone else. You are in control.
- If you don’t have an LPA in place it is the court that decides for you – A court will follow a set procedure, which may limit the amount of power your relatives have. This can make life difficult for them.
- A court may insist a solicitor is involved – This can make things very expensive.
For more guidance and information on setting up a lasting power of attorney, please do contact us. It’s worth making an informed decision now.