You have likely heard of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), possibly in relation to elderly relatives, but have you got one in place for yourself, and do you know the importance of doing so?
What is an LPA?
An LPA provides the legal framework for someone you trust to make key decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity. That can typically be when you’re older, and developing dementia, but it can also apply at any age if, for example, you have an accident and sustain a head injury. The problem can be, if you find yourself in a similar situation, its often too late to do anything about it. Once someone has lost mental capacity, you can’t get an LPA set up – you must apply to the Court of Protection, an expensive and time-consuming process which can be challenging when you have real time care and funding decisions to make.
There are two types of LPA:
- Health and care decisions (e.g., where you should live, your medical care, what you should eat, who you should have contact with)
- Financial decisions (e.g., buying and selling property, paying the mortgage, managing pensions, investing money, paying bills, and arranging repairs to property)
It is possible to set up different attorneys for each LPA, if required, as well as separate financial LPAs for personal and business finances.
Why do I need an LPA in place?
Many assume that a family member will be given the legal right to make care decisions on their behalf, but this isn’t always the case. The same applies for decisions on finances, selling property, accessing pensions etc.
It is sensible planning for everyone to get LPAs set up – think of it as a type of insurance policy. You hope you will never need them, but they are in place if you do. The health and care one can only take effect when you have lost capacity and with the financial one you can choose whether to activate now for use with your consent or whether it only activates when you lose capacity, so there is nothing to worry about in terms of people trying to make decisions on your behalf before then.
Get in touch
Incapacity can strike anyone at any time – putting an LPA in place ensures that someone you trust will look after your affairs if you become unable to do so. There are some pitfalls to avoid which could make your LPA unworkable, so it’s worth taking advice to ensure you avoid them and get it set up correctly. Our private client team can help you do that.
If you would like more information on setting up an LPA or would like to discuss the process in more detail, our team of specialists are perfectly placed to support and guide you in planning now for tomorrow. Get in touch by speaking to your usual adviser or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.