The Covid-19 outbreak has driven many of us to think more about putting our affairs in order. Making a Will is often regarded as the most important step for long term planning – with making a Lasting Power of Attorney sometimes seen as an afterthought. But if your goal is to ensure your affairs run smoothly with as little future stress or upset for your loved ones, having a LPA in place is just as important.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you had a serious accident or stroke, or you contracted a debilitating illness, you may not be able to manage your finances or make decisions about your care. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives someone of your choice the ability to act on your behalf, should you be unable to act yourself.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – one for financial decisions (including property) and the other for health and care decisions. Both must be registered before they are valid.
The Lasting Power of Attorney for financial decisions can be used with your permission once it has been registered – even though you have not lost capacity. So this is useful document to have because it allows you to get help with your finances, perhaps during an extended stay in hospital or a holiday abroad. The Health and Care LPA can only be used once you have lost capacity.
Why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Dementia, illness, stroke or brain injury due to an accident can affect people of any age. We associate losing mental capacity with old age but in fact, as the recent Covid-19 outbreak has shown, this can affect anybody at any point during their life.
- One in four strokes in the UK happen in people under the age of 65 (Stroke Association)
- An estimated 42,000 people under the age of 65 in the UK have dementia – more than 5 per cent of all those with dementia (Alzheimer’s Society)
- Accidents can affect anybody at any time, rendering them unable to manage their affairs.
Many people assume that their partner will automatically be able to take over handling their finances and make decisions for them, but this is not the case. Sometimes banks will even freeze a joint account and refuse to allow access to funds when one party becomes incapacitated – even if the funds are needed to pay for their care.
Everyone aged 18 or over should have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney in place. Rather than leave the choice of who will be making decisions for you to chance, you can make a Lasting Power of Attorney now and decide for yourself who you’d like to be in charge of your affairs.
The best advice is, don’t let it get to that stage. It is far quicker, simpler and cheaper to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This allows you to set out in advance who will act for you, how they can act and what limits will be placed on their powers.
We offer a free one-hour appointment to discuss making one or both types of Lasting Power of Attorney, without any obligation. Our headquarters are in Nottingham and we have locations across the UK. We also offer video and phone appointments. You’ll find our fees extremely competitive in comparison with other firms.
0800 788 0500 9am – 5pm Mon – Fri
PAUL KING TEP EXPLAINS:
Q: What happens if I lose capacity & I don’t have a LPA?
“If you do lose mental capacity and you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney, someone will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a ‘Deputyship Order‘. The person who applies may not be the person you would have chosen yourself. The application process is lengthy and expensive. Once an order is granted, that person (who is called a ‘Deputy’) can make decisions for you, which might include:
- Paying bills and expenses on your behalf.
- Deciding how your day is organised.
- Deciding how you receive care.
- Deciding if your home will be sold.
The Deputy must always act in your best interests, but abuse does happen – including theft, fraud, misuse of property, possessions or benefits, undue pressure and neglect (OPG, 2015). This is one reason why making a Lasting Power of Attorney and nominating someone you trust to manage your affairs is a sensible choice.
Applying for a Deputyship Order is a long, complex and often intrusive process. It is also expensive. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is a much simpler, cheaper and quicker way to elect somebody you trust to manage your affairs should you be unable to do so yourself. It puts you in complete control of who will make decisions for you, and the extent of their powers.
We offer a free information pack and a free one-hour session to discuss making a Lasting Power of Attorney, without obligation. Complete the form below to get your pack or call my team on 0800 788 0500 Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm to book your appointment.”
Guides and FAQs
From the blog:
Your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be revoked at any time whilst you have mental capacity. In this guide, we explain how to revoke your LPA in full or part.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has rolled out a new “Use a lasting power of attorney (LPA) service” today, which will make using an LPA much quicker and simpler for attorneys.