The virtues of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
Although we do not wish to dwell on the negatives of getting older, there are advantages in planning ahead for later life.
Having a plan in place for dealing with the practical, legal and financial aspects of your life, in case you should find yourself unable to do so yourself, can save a lot of worry for your family, giving you peace of mind that such matters will be dealt with by a person in whom you trust, in as speedy and inexpensive a manner as possible.
The most comprehensive way of dealing with issues such as these is by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a legal document that enables you to appoint someone to deal with your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself due to an illness or accident. This person becomes your Attorney.
You can create two different types of LPA – one enabling your Attorneys to make decisions in relation to your health and welfare (e.g. regarding the medical care you receive) the other, enabling your Attorneys to make decisions regarding your financial affairs.
Most people choose to appoint one or more close family members or trusted friends as their Attorneys. Professionals can be appointed if desired. Your Attorneys can then deal with issues relating to your property and finances and/or your health and welfare.
It is important to note that individuals can only set up an LPA whilst they are able to understand the implications and this is where it really is worth planning ahead. On too many occasions the need for an LPA only becomes obvious after the person whose affairs are in question has lost the mental capacity required to create the same.
In such circumstances, any family member or friend wishing to make decisions on your behalf will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy. You will not be able to choose the person who applies, their application may not be successful and – even if it is – such an application is a far more complex, lengthy and expensive process than creating an LPA.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be put in place at any time and is often created at the same time as creating or updating a will. Though the process itself – involving a certain amount of legal paperwork – is fairly straightforward, it is sensible to seek expert legal advice before making any major decisions.
At Royds, we specialise in all aspects of creating and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney, including when it should come into effect and how to cancel it. For more information, please contact Tony Millson and Deanna Hurst.
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