When should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA gives legal authority to a trusted family member or friend to deal with your affairs on your behalf. It can be used should you ever lose the capacity to make your own decisions. Many people ask the question when should I make an LPA?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney that can be made:
- Financial and property
- Health and welfare
Under a financial and property LPA, your attorney can access your bank account and pay your bills. They are also able to sell your home if necessary and make investments on your behalf.
Under a health and welfare LPA, your attorney can make decisions about your personal care and wellbeing. Such as where you will live, your day-to-day routine and the medical treatment you will receive.
You can appoint a single attorney or more than one if you wish. They can act individually or you can require them to make any decisions together. Although this may make their job more difficult to manage. You can also name replacement attorneys who can act should anyone be unable or unwilling to take on the role when the time comes.
You can appoint different attorneys for each type of LPA. All of your attorneys have a duty to act in your best interests at all times.
Why is an LPA important?
If you should become unable to manage your own affairs, an LPA allows your attorney to step in and do this for you very easily. It allows you to choose the person or persons you most trust and whom you think would be most suitable to take on the task.
Without an LPA, your loved ones would not be able to deal with any transactions on your behalf. They could not pay your bills or arrange your care. They would need to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order.
This can be time-consuming and is more complicated and considerably more expensive than putting an LPA in place ahead of time. It also involves more ongoing monitoring.
When will an LPA be used?
A financial and property LPA can be used at any time, including while you still have capacity. This can be very useful if you need someone to deal with a financial matter on your behalf. For example if you cannot get to the bank or if you are overseas.
A health and welfare LPA can only be used once you have lost capacity.
When should I make an LPA?
It is never too soon to make an LPA. Once you have signed it, it can be registered and does not need to be used until you require help. If or when that day comes, you and your family have the reassurance of knowing that you have made adequate plans.
If you wait until you have problems, you could find that it is too late. Once you lose mental capacity, you will no longer be able to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
By putting an LPA in place while you are fit and well, you can rest assured that you have done all you can to secure your future and make it as easy as possible for your loved ones to help you if you need it.
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