Do you have a Lasting Power of Attorney? Everyone needs a Lasting Power of Attorney and no one can afford to not have one in place. Sadly, most of us don’t realise how important a Lasting Power of Attorney is until there is an accident or decisions need to be taken to help an elderly relative.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney authorises nominated members of your family and/or trusted friends to act on your behalf if you are not capable of making your own decisions.
There are 2 different types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Health and welfare – this type of Lasting Power of Attorney allows your nominated family or friends (called attorneys) to make decisions about your medical treatment and care needs if you are not able to do so because you lack capacity
- Property and financial affairs – this type of Lasting Power of Attorney allows your attorneys to manage your financial affairs (for example to manage your bank account, pay bills, or sell your house) if you lack the capacity to make your own decisions
You can do one or both types of Lasting Power of Attorney – the decision is yours.
The Lasting Power of Attorney is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. A health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney won’t be used unless there comes a time when you lack the capacity to make your own decisions. Provided you have the capacity you can cancel a Lasting Power of Attorney or nominate new attorneys.
Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Most people think that an elderly relative might need a Lasting Power of Attorney but don’t think that they need one. However, no one knows when you might need an attorney to quickly act for you, either temporarily (after a ski or car accident) or permanently. That is why everyone needs a Lasting Power of Attorney to cover the what-ifs.
What you can’t do is wait until you or your relative has lost capacity (either as a result of an accident, health scare, or dementia) and then ask an LPA lawyer to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney.
To give an example of why a Lasting Power of Attorney is important take the example of a business owner, keen on winter sports and skiing off-piste, who was separated from his wife and living with a new partner. If he were to have an accident and lose capacity then without a financial Lasting Power of Attorney his business might quickly get into trouble as there would be no one with the power to handle matters temporarily (to pay bills and salaries) or long term basis (to employ a manager or sort out a sale of the business). Without a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, the man’s next of kin would be his estranged wife, rather than his girlfriend, parents, or siblings. Lasting Powers of Attorney are essential to give peace of mind.
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What happens if there is no Lasting Power of Attorney and capacity is lost
If capacity is lost before a Lasting Power of Attorney is in place an application can be made to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed to look after the affairs of the incapacitated person. The appointment of a deputy costs more in legal fees than drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney. In addition, there is likely to be a delay between the Court of Protection application and the appointment of the deputy. During that period your friends and family won’t be able to access bank accounts to help manage your financial affairs and pay essential bills or make health or care decisions for you.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a bit like a Will; everyone needs one at any age, even if none of us like to think of accidents, dementia, or death.
How much does a Lasting Power of Attorney cost?
A bespoke Will and Lasting Power of Attorney drawn up by an experienced and regulated solicitor isn’t as much as you might fear.
Very few law firms publish price information on their websites. Evolve is one of the first law firms to publish fixed fees for the preparation of Powers of Attorney so you have an idea of our charges before making a call or emailing us. Take a look at Our Prices | Standard Fixed Fees.
The Evolve Family Law fixed fees mean you get private client Lasting Power of Attorney assistance tailored to your personal situation, based on what is best for you in return for charges that are affordable and you can understand.
Everyone’s personal and financial circumstances are different and that is why it is so important that everyone has protection in place to protect themselves and their family.