Should I have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The Government have launched a campaign in an attempt to encourage more people to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney.
The campaign is called ‘Your voice, your decision’, and the Government website explains that if someone was to lose their ability to make important decisions for themselves, a lasting power of attorney (LPA) will ensure that people they trust can quickly, easily and legally step in to make those decisions on their behalf.
The importance of having a Lasting Power of Attorney
With the general population now living longer than ever before, LPAs have become increasingly important legal documents. A longer average lifespan has resulted in more people requiring care packages or a need to arrange spending their later years in a care home, so it’s vital that decisions are made by people that you can wholly trust should the ability to do so for yourself be taken away from you.
Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has only served to add extra stress and strain to the ageing population.
Lasting Power of Attorney - the two types
There are two different types of LPA. One is specifically for property and financial decisions, while the other is specifically for health and welfare decisions.
It is recommended that both types of LPA are put in place so that if someone no longer has the capacity to make important decisions for themselves, a trusted attorney can step in to act on their behalf regardless of what the decision concerns.
An LPA can act on your behalf in relation to the sale of a property, banking, paying bills and settling all other financial matters, as well as make decisions about care homes and care packages, end of life matters or decisions regarding things such as vaccines.
However, should someone wish to only have the one document in place, then that is perfectly fine.
When is the time to make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA can only be put in place when you still have the ability to outline the instructions it must include.
Once this capability is lost, it is too late. This means the sooner you put the documents in place, the better. While you are still fit and well, now would be the best time to make a Lasting Power of Attorney so that any potential future complications can be avoided.
Having an LPA in place will ensure that financial affairs and personal welfare decisions will be dealt with by someone that you specifically choose, be it a son or daughter, sibling, other relative, or closest friend. Whoever you choose should have your very best interests at heart.
What happens if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If something should go wrong that renders you unable to make decisions and you don’t have an LPA in place, your family would be left with no option but to apply to the Court of Protection in order to become your deputy. This process can prove to be extremely costly and time-consuming, not to mention your family will not be guaranteed anything from the application.
Deciding on an LPA is an extremely important and personal decision in itself. An LPA document is valid provided the donor is at least 18 years of age and has the mental capacity to understand the power and authority that would be passed to their named attorney(s).
Nobody can foresee what the future holds, therefore there can be no hard and fast rule as to exactly when you should make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
It is something everyone should consider while they are able to do so. This is especially true for those with a family, a business, investments, responsibilities, or who are simply becoming elderly or infirm.
If you’d like to discuss any of the legal services that we offer here at Fonseca Law, from family law and divorce through to criminal defence, conveyancing, and much more, please do get in touch with our team of expert solicitors. You can contact us by calling 01495 303124, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing our online contact form.