LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY - DO I NEED THEM?
- AuthorClaire Holland
The simple answer is yes! Most people appreciate the importance of making a valid Will so that we can have control over where our assets should go after we die.
But you should also consider what would happen if you suddenly lost the capacity – temporarily or permanently – to deal with your affairs during your lifetime. Your loved ones will not be able to deal with your finances unless you have a proper legal framework in place, and nor will they have the power to make certain decisions about your day to day living. They will be faced with an expensive and time consuming deputyship application to the Court of Protection, and in the meantime will be virtually powerless to deal with your affairs. The Court will choose a deputy, and this may not be someone you might have chosen yourself.
However, if you draw up Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) now – well before they may be needed – and register them with the Office of the Public Guardian, you and your family will have the assurance that if you were ever to lose capacity, the legal framework is already in place for your chosen attorneys to step in and deal with your affairs on your behalf. You cannot make LPAs once you have lost capacity, so whilst it may not be something you want to think about now – much like a Will – it is vital to get them sorted whilst you are fit and well. We can offer advice and help with drafting LPAs and having them registered, and can also act as certificate providers (a required part of the forms).
Types of LPA
There are two types of LPA – one for Property and Financial Affairs and one for Health and Welfare. The LPA for Property and Financial Affairs gives your attorneys the power to make decisions about, for example, selling your house and dealing with your finances. The second type gives your attorneys the power to make certain decisions over where you live, your care and the medical treatment you receive.
Choosing Your Attorneys
You can choose whomever you like to be your attorneys, though of course, bearing in mind the type of decisions that they can make for you, this should be a matter of careful consideration and we can discuss this with you. You do not have to appoint the same attorneys for both LPAs. You can have as many as you like – although you should ensure that they can work together. You can also select replacement attorneys so that you have someone to step in if your attorneys are unable to act. You should ensure that your attorneys are aware of your wishes and should discuss these at the time of making the LPAs.
Using Your LPAs
There are safeguards to make sure that your attorneys act in your best interests and in accordance with your wishes. We can discuss these safeguards with you and your attorneys.
Once your LPAs have been drawn up, they are sent to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration which takes about six weeks. It is advisable to register them as soon as they have been made, rather than waiting until you have lost capacity. Once registered, the LPA for Property and Financial Affairs can be used straight away (if you have agreed to this) and the LPA for Health and Welfare can be used only when you have lost capacity.
Contact our Private Client team now to make an appointment.