Lasting Power of Attorney – making your wishes known

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2017

By 2021, the Alzheimer’s Society predicts that more than 1 million elderly people in the UK will suffer from some form of dementia. One in five people over 85 already suffer from it. The advice from charities caring for the elderly is that everyone should plan ahead for a time when they might not be in a position to handle their own financial affairs, or deal with decisions about their care.

Help when it’s needed most

We can all use a little extra help as we age, and that can be particularly true when it comes to money matters and issues involving our health and well-being.

Sometimes, physical problems can mean that going to the bank or building society to deal with money matters can seem like a step too far. What’s more, many people would like to involve their families, passing the responsibility for financial decisions over to them in their later years. The same can be true when it comes to deciding important issues concerning the provision of medical care.

Older people increasingly want to ensure that if they aren’t able to make their own decisions concerning their finances or health, they can rely on a relative or friend to step in and take key decisions on their behalf. This is where executing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be a tremendous help.

Appointing others to act on your behalf

There are two types of LPA, one covering property and financial matters, the other dealing with health and welfare. You can choose to make one or both types. You will need to appoint one or more people to be your attorney; these can be relatives or friends, your husband or partner, or a professional adviser such as your solicitor.

These documents are straightforward to draw up. The forms need to be signed in the presence of witnesses, and the attorney(s) and witnesses will also need to sign them. Then the LPA(s) will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Why people often overlook the need to make an LPA

Many people don’t think about putting an LPA in place because they wrongly assume their loved ones could step in and would automatically be able to deal with banks and building societies or health authorities for them. However, if you lose mental capacity or become seriously ill and haven’t made an LPA, a family member would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy in order to deal with matters like these on your behalf.

Anyone wanting to assume the role of Deputy needs to apply to the Court of Protection. This process can be time-consuming, often taking up to six months to complete. In addition there are fees and annual costs involved, and the powers that Deputyship confers aren’t as wide-ranging as those included under an LPA.

Why LPAs matter

By acting now when you have mental capacity, you can save your family and friends the expense and time of trying to gain similar powers in the future.

We have helped hundreds of families put LPAs in place; giving them the satisfaction and peace of mind of knowing that they have made provision for the future should they be unable to decide matters for themselves. If you would like more information about creating an LPA, then please get in touch.

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