What do you know about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)?
Most people generally seem to know about the importance of having a Will, even if they have not yet made one! However, the importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney is not as widely known.
What would happen if you became incapable of making decisions for yourself?
In the event that an illness meant you lacked the physical or mental ability to deal with your own money and affairs, or make decisions about your personal welfare, who would you want to make those decisions for you?
By preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney, you make the decision as to who should take on this role, whilst you are still able to do so.
No-one likes to think this could happen to them, but unfortunately we do not know what lies ahead. It is estimated by the NHS that 2 million people lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves as a result of dementia, mental health difficulties, brain injuries or other illnesses that may occur at any time in our lives.
In such circumstances, it is often assumed that your spouse or other family members are entitled to manage your financial affairs, but without your express authority this is not possible.
There are two types of LPAs.
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
These allow your attorneys to make decisions in relation to buying and selling property, operating bank and building society accounts, paying bills and collecting benefits on your behalf.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
These allow your attorneys to make decisions relating to your care and living accommodation, consenting to or refusing medical treatment on your behalf, and day to day matters such as what you wear or eat.
What happens if I lose mental capacity and don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If a Lasting Power of Attorney is not in place when needed, an application has to be made to the Court of Protection for somebody to be granted the power to act on your behalf. This is called a Deputyship Order. This process is lengthy, intrusive, expensive and burdensome and requires the payment of ongoing fees. It may also result in someone you would not have chosen managing your financial affairs.
If you would like to know more about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please don’t hesitate to contact our Wills and Probate team, who would be pleased to help you.