7 Myths Regarding Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting Power of Attorney
In this article we dispel 7 common myths relating to Lasting Power of Attorney and explain why every adult aged 18+ should have one.

1. My next of kin gets to act on my behalf

Next of kin or even family members can’t just assume that they can make decisions with your financial affairs or your welfare, if someone has lost capacity, the next of kin or family member cannot ring up the bank for example and get the authority to deal with their accounts.

When you turn 18, your next of kin no longer has the right to act on your behalf. Additionally, next of kin is not actually a legal term, and certainly doesn’t have the same rights as those given under a Lasting Power of Attorney.

2. If I sign a power of attorney then I lose control

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used when a person lacks mental capacity – only then can your attorneys make decisions your behalf. A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can be used when a person lacks capacity but also where a person provides consent for their attorney to act.

Mental capacity is decision-specific, so powers of attorney can come into use at different times of your life. It isn’t giving away your independence – it’s taking control by choosing who can help you, and putting in place a legal document just in case.

3. I can wait to make my lasting power of attorney until it is necessary

You do not know when something might happen which could leave you unable to make your own decisions. If you leave it to when you may need it, it could actually be too late as you need to have sufficient mental capacity to make an LPA. If you lose capacity without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you then your family would have to apply to the courts for a Deputyship Order. This can take up to six months to go through, and can incur thousands in legal fees. Further (unlike an LPA) you don’t get to choose who helps you with a Deputyship Order.

By making a Lasting Power of Attorney now, you’re making sure your interests are protected no matter what happens in the future.

4. Lasting power of attorney is just for the elderly

Accident or illness can strike at any time, sometimes even without warning. Younger people take part in high risk sports, live with mental health problems, or regular alcohol and drug use are all social patterns which could lead young people to no longer be able to make important decisions for themselves.

It’s important to let younger people know that without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, your family or partner will not be able to make decisions on your behalf.

5. Getting an LPA is too expensive

Whilst an LPA can seem expensive to start with, if you were to lose capacity without such document then ultimately it may be your family which would have to cover the cost of a Deputyship Order. Therefore, the money you pay now for a Lasting Power of Attorney could save them thousands.

A Lasting Power of Attorney legal document is also a lifetime document once made. Further, we can offer flexible payment terms for those who need a little help with the cost.

6. I can only appoint one person as an attorney

In order to make an LPA, you need at least one attorney – however it is recommended to have up to four in case one of your attorneys cannot act. This could be due to ill health, or an attorney passing away. Having more than one attorney means that if one does not want to act then the responsibility can be left to the remaining attorneys.

Common choices can include spouses/civil partners or cohabitees and adult children. At April King we are able to advise you on the responsibilities and guide you through the options that are available.

7. My children live abroad so they can’t be an attorney for me.

We often come across clients whose children have flown the nest and now live abroad. This does not cause any complications with regards to the LPA and they can still be an attorney. Part of April King’s professional fees includes the preparation and postage of documents internationally where required.

If your attorneys do move address or country, it is a simple case of calling the Office of the Public Guardian to update their records.

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