A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint someone (or more than one person) to look after your finances or your personal welfare if you are no longer able.
You can only put an LPA in place while you have the mental capacity to do so. It enables you to retain an element of control if an accident or illness leaves you unable to make your own decisions.
If you don’t have an LPA in place, consider putting one in place now.
Only you can appoint an attorney and you must make the decision yourself. If the worst were to happen and you had an accident or became ill without one, it might already be too late.
Here are three reasons to put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place now. But first, some general rules to consider.
There is more than one type of LPA and certain rules that govern who can be an attorney
Only you can set up an LPA to cover your own future needs and it must be done while you have the mental capacity to do so.
The attorney (or attorneys) you choose must be aged 18 or over and they too must have the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
If you have more than one attorney, you can also choose whether they must act jointly, or whether they can act separately.
There are 2 types of LPA to cover different areas and you should consider whether you need one or both.
- A Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA could cover – amongst other things – your daily routine, medical care, and moving into a care home
- A Property and Financial Affairs LPA
An attorney named as part of a Property and Financial Affairs LPA can manage your finances, paying bills, and collecting benefits on your behalf.
Reasons why you need to put an LPA in place now
1. By the time you need one, it might be too late
You can only appoint an attorney while you have the mental capacity to do so. This protects you from the risk of coercion but also means that if you become ill or have an accident that limits your capacity, you will no longer have the ability to put an LPA in place.
At that point, should the worst happen, you have no control over how your wealth and finances, or your personal care, is managed.
By putting an LPA in place now, you can take back that control.
An LPA enables you to choose a person, or persons, to look after your affairs if you are no longer able.
You can appoint different attorneys for different aspects of your life and put limits on what individuals can do.
You might grant one attorney the power to manage your estate and allow a different attorney to make decisions about medical treatment and end of life care, for example.
These are important decisions and will require a lot of thought but starting to think about it now gives you the best chance of having the necessary protection in place should you need it.
2. Not having one might ultimately cost you more
Setting up an LPA through the Office of the Public Guardian currently costs £82 in England and Wales and £77 in Scotland.
If you’re looking to set up an LPA with multiple attorneys and various restrictions – or if you’re simply not comfortable filling out the forms – you might feel more confident using a solicitor.
This might cost around £500 but could rise to as much as £1,000.
It will, though, give you peace of mind that it has been set up correctly and in line with your wishes. This could save money in the long term if a poorly constructed LPA needs to be amended or leads to legal or family disputes in the future.
There are also costs attached to not having an LPA in place.
Without an LPA, your loved ones can not automatically deal with your finances and instead will need to go through a potentially time-consuming and costly process of applying to the Court of Protection.
With court fees of £400, a possible medical certificate at £300, and a potential waiting time of between four and six months, your family might have a long time to wait before they are in a position to help you, even if they know what your wishes are.
3. You’ll have peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out
No one wants to think about a time when they are unable to make important financial and welfare decisions for themselves. But thinking about it now means that you won’t need to worry about it in the future.
Put an LPA in place now and you’ll have peace of mind that your affairs will be dealt with in a way that aligns with your wishes should the worst happen. That leaves you free to enjoy life now.
Get in touch
If you’d like to discuss any aspect of your long-term financial plans and the benefits of putting an LPA in place, get in touch. Please email email@example.com or call 0115 933 8433.