Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA's) are legal documents drawn up and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to give another person or persons (attorneys) the power to deal with your affairs and make decisions for you if you are unable to do this for yourself because you lack the capacity.
None of us really likes to think about a time when we might lose the capacity to look after our own interests. However, the number of people who have to face up to this eventuality is on the increase.
It isn't just about those who lose mental capacity either, although anyone who has had a loved one struck down by alzheimers or dementia will recognise just how difficult that could be if they don't have someone that they trust to represent them and make sure that any decisions made are completely in their interests. It is also very possible that someone might become incapable of running their own affairs due to physical impairments, perhaps due to an accident or lessening mobility.
To address these risks there are two types of LPAs which can be set up. One of these covers your financial decisions which would enable your attorneys to run your bank accounts, make or sell investments, pay your bills and buy or sell property.
The other covers your health decisions which can include the type of health care and medical treatments you receive, including life-sustaining treatment, where you live, who visits you, and daily matters such as your diet and routine.
To register LPAs, there are certain forms which have to be completed. You will need a certificate provider to certify you are of sound mind and also a witness to these documents.
Couples who are married or in a civil partnership do not have the power to make decisions for each other if one of them loses capacity. LPAs are the only way to ensure that the people of your choosing would have the legal authority to deal with your affairs.
If you lose capacity (even temporarily) and you have not completed LPAs, your assets will be frozen (this includes joint bank accounts) and your loved ones would need to apply to the Court of Protection for deputyship. Applying to the court is very costly and it can take several months for a decision to be made.
In many cases the court may decline the application and appoint professional attorneys (who charge for their services) to deal with your financial affairs and social services to make all the decisions regarding your health and welfare; not your partner or next of kin.
It is never too soon to look at completing Lasting Powers of attorney so don't delay.
If you remain unconvinced then maybe take a look at the links below, two videos and a BBC article on why you should register LPAs at the earliest possible opportunity:
Why a financial LPA is so important:
Why you should also have a Health and Welfare LPA:
Ancojada Limited is not authorised or regulated to provide financial advice.
All financial advice is provided by other regulated businesses.