Why everyone should have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Whenever I see clients I always recommend that they review and, if necessary, update their Wills and LPAs. If they don’t have them then I advise that they make them without delay.

What does a Lasting Power of Attorney do?
LPAs are available in two parts; Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare. You can choose to prepare either or both. I would always recommend preparing both.

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA enables your chosen attorneys to ‘stand in your shoes’ and make decisions regarding all your financial and property matters, including the sale of your property.

A Health and Welfare LPA enables your attorneys to make decisions regarding your personal self, if you lose capacity to make those decisions in the future.

Who should I appoint as my attorneys?
This requires careful consideration. LPAs confer a significant authority on your attorneys to handle your financial and personal affairs. You should be appointing someone who you feel you can trust to act in your best interests.

Commonly, a spouse and children are appointed as attorneys but, do consider whether the children will work well together. Huge problems can arise if the attorneys are always fighting instead of looking after you. 

You can appoint a professional attorney for extra peace of mind, but you will need to weigh this with the cost of having a professional appointed.

How your attorneys are appointed needs to be carefully considered and the advice of an experienced professional should be sought.

Can I make my Lasting Powers of Attorney myself?
Yes, you can make your Lasting Power of Attorney yourself, directly with the Office of the Public Guardian. However, similar to Wills, by doing so you may be missing out on important advice that a professional can provide. Unfortunately, it is often the case that when LPAs go wrong, it is too late to change them, resulting in costly applications to the Court to rectify matters. It is much better to get it right at the outset.

Do I need to prepare my Lasting Powers of Attorney now, or wait until I am older?
It is a common misconception that LPAs are for the elderly and those that are suffering with Dementia. An LPA has a wider use than that. An LPA can be used if you were ever in an accident and perhaps in a coma, or if you were hospital bound for a temporary period. LPAs are especially important for those who have young children and are the main income earner in their household. 

I often describe LPAs as an insurance policy. They are made in the hope that they are not needed, but if they are needed then they make life easier at what may be an already difficult time. 

If you have any queries regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney or would like more information then you can contact Adam Scott on Adam.scott@trethowans.com or 01202 338585. 

Adam Scott is a qualified Solicitor, Full Member of Solicitors for the Elderly and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

T. 01202 338585
E. info@trethowans.com


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