Are you in the 68% of those aged over 60 who does not have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Lasting Powers of Attorney appoint individual(s) to deal with finances or health and welfare when you are unable to make those decisions yourself. By not having Lasting Powers of Attorney you are putting your financial affairs, medical care and health at risk.
It is your right to decide what happens if you unfortunately lose the ability to make your own decisions through an accident or loss of capacity.
Top five reasons to have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA):
- It protects your financial and business interests.
- You decide who can make decisions on your behalf.
- Saves a fortune compared with the alternative, which is an application to the Court of Protection.
- It automatically comes into effect when it’s needed and lasts for the rest of your life.
- It stops your bank accounts being frozen.
A loss of mental capacity is nothing to joke about, it can seriously affect your business, personal finances and day to day life.
In providing legal advice, one of the areas we specialise in is LPAs. Not as well-known as Wills, but arguably just as important, LPAs often involve discussions around illness, loss of mental capacity, and the huge repercussions that these events can have. LPAs are powerful documents which give you the opportunity to make choices about your future.
Using an LPA, you can appoint trusted individual(s) to manage your finances and/or health and welfare, and make decisions about life sustaining treatment, if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
Too young for LPAs?
One misconception is that younger people and those in good health do not need LPA’s. LPAs are not solely for people suffering from age related illnesses and in some circumstances, can even be used while a person still has their capacity, for example, if they are out of the country for a period of time, or if they are self-isolating with Covid 19!
Our survey revealed that many of you have business interests, and some of the people who are most in need of having LPAs are those who own a business. Who is going to step into your shoes if the need arises? Can the business survive and continue to trade successfully without your input? If the business is a partnership, have the partners made provisions to protect each other and their families? Crisis management is high up the agenda these days for business owners.
In an ideal world, conversations about LPAs would be started long before the documents are needed.
A discussion about LPAs will inevitably be more difficult if it is being had when a person is likely to need to use the LPAs imminently, for example after a diagnosis of dementia or other illness. If a person’s future plans can be discussed earlier on, it will give them breathing space to fully consider their wishes without feeling under pressure.
Furthermore, a person must be able to understand what they are doing to make an LPA, so if their mental capacity is already significantly compromised, they may have run out of time to put an LPA in place. Their family would instead have to apply to the Court for an order appointing a ‘deputy’, which is time consuming and costly.
So timing and early planning is key.
Whether you are a family member supporting somebody with ill health, or you or someone you know is considering their own future plans, please bear in mind the uncertainty of our future can cause a great deal of stress and worry. This is especially true in the current times we are living in. Talking with us can provide some much-needed relief in a period of uncertainty and offer clarity and security through putting in place LPAs.
If you would like to discuss any of the topics explored above, please contact Sarah.
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