When questioned on Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) most people will tell you that they don’t need one because they are fit and healthy and that LPAs are only required for elderly people.
Sadly, this is not the case, and we aim to raise awareness of LPAs as every person should consider making them.
LPAs come in two forms, one for property and financial affairs and one for health and welfare decisions. A property and financial affairs LPA is used to deal with any monetary matters such as paying bills, operating bank accounts or can even be used to sell properties.
A health and welfare decisions LPA is used to make medical decisions. They create a power for the person making them (the donor) to nominate someone that they trust as an attorney to look after their decisions for them.
The property and financial affairs LPA can be used as soon as it is registered, so whilst the person still has mental capacity if needed, but the health and welfare decisions LPA can only be used when the donor has lost mental capacity.
LPAs allow the people that the donor has chosen to make the decisions which would otherwise be left up to a stranger who does not know your circumstances and could be making the most cost effective decision rather than the best decision for you personally.
If you lose capacity before an LPA is made, then a deputy can be appointed through the Court of Protection, but this can have its disadvantages as you may not wish for the person who has applied to be a deputy to act for you, and it can take between 6 and 12 months to appoint someone. The cost is much more expensive when a deputy needs to be appointed and therefore registering an LPA early is the best way to avoid this uncertainty.
Accidents rendering people incapacitated can happen at any time, such as traffic collisions or strokes which can lead to instant disabilities, which is why the need for LPAs is there at all ages and is something to be drafted and registered for a time in the future where you may need to use it. There is often an assumption that if you have a husband or wife then they will be able to make these decisions for you if necessary. However this is not the case and the LPAs should be made to appoint the husband or wife if that is your wish.
If you would like to discuss LPAs and the necessity for them in more detail, our private client team would be happy to help and can be contacted through your local office in Whitby, Scarborough, Hunmanby or Bridlington to arrange an appointment.