Why having a lasting power of attorney is crucial

The importance of drawing up a will is known by all as it will allow you to put in place a plan that will help to deal with your estate after death. However, there are many people who are unaware of the benefits of having a Lasting Power of Attorney.

A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to select someone or a number of people to whom you will give legal authority to act on your behalf. This will enable them to take care of your financial affairs, property, your health and any welfare decisions should you no longer be of sound mind.

The number of people suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease is on the rise and by 2025 it is predicted that more than 1 million people will suffer from it. In the UK, 20% of people over the age of 85 already suffer with the disease. If you are no longer able to make important decisions then your finances and property can become almost impossible to take care of. You will also be unable to manage your health and welfare which is why it is crucial to have an LPA. LPA’s are usually linked to the elderly but this is not necessarily true because those of a younger age can also be affected in many ways. This will mean that they cannot look after themselves mentally or physically.

If you are unable to make decisions yourself and you do not have an LPA in place, it can be costly for friends and family to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This can also take a considerable amount of time but it will eventually give them access and control of financial affairs and your property. There is also the possibility of coming across a number of difficulties when it comes to them having the right to make medical decision and welfare decisions for you.

You cannot decide to put an LPA in place if you do not have the mental capacity and this is important to remember, so having one in place is crucial. The thought of having an LPA may cause you concerns as it may seem that you are admitting that you are unable to make decisions for yourself but this is not the case. What you have to do, is make the right decisions now so that you can be sure that any future arrangements are in the hands of people you trust. An LPA can be drawn up when you make your will but the two documents are separate from each other and they deal with different situations. Therefore, it is important to make a move now to put all of your affairs in order so that you can plan ahead, allowing you to enjoy your life, knowing that the correct arrangements are in place.

LPA’s were introduced in 2007 and they were made to offer a greater level of flexibility than the previous document known as the Enduring Power of Attorney. There are two types of LPA’s – a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney and a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.

The Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney enables your attorney to make decisions on your behalf that relate to the purchase and sale of property. It also allows them to handle money investments as well as the paying in and withdrawal of money from bank accounts. All bills, income and direct debits will be in their control also.

The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney gives your attorney the ability to make decisions on your half relating to where you live and any care that you will receive along with how you receive it. They will also decide on whether medical treatment used to sustain your life should continue.

The main difference between the two LPA’s is that the Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used even if you are still mentally able to make decisions but a Health and Welfare LPA can only make decisions on your behalf should you no longer have the mental capacity to do so yourself.

The Fountain Solicitors Team has extensive knowledge of Power of Attorney issues and is always available to answer any queries you may have.

We are able to prepare Power of Attorneys which are valid and recognised in the United Kingdom as well as Internationally.

If you require Affidavits and Wills, please contact Ameera Nosheen or Asya Chaudhry on 09122 645 429 or message us on our contact form.