Whether or not we already have a Will in place, most of us appreciate that it is something we should do if we want to help our loved ones deal with our affairs after our death. But have you ever considered what would happen before your death if you were to become incapable of handling your own affairs?
By making a Lasting Power of Attorney (an LPA) now, you can choose people you trust to act as your Attorneys and deal with your property and finances or make decisions about your health and welfare if there comes a time when you cannot. Charities who care for the elderly always recommend that LPAs are put in place to ease the potential burden on our relatives, but physical and mental incapacity can strike at any age, through accident or sudden illness, and without authority your family will not be able to access your bank accounts or investments or make decisions on your behalf.
If you do not have an LPA in place and later become mentally incapacitated, relatives must apply to the Court of Protection to take control of your assets and the cost of doing that can be £2,000 or more – so it makes sense to plan ahead.
There are two types of LPA:
- An LPA for property & affairs, which gives your Attorney(s) the right to make decisions concerning your financial affairs and assets, such as your house, savings, investments and business interests and allows them to manage bank accounts, buy or sell property and receive income or benefits due to you.
- An LPA for Health and Welfare which allows your Attorney(s) to decide such things as where you should live, the day to day care you receive, and to consent to or refuse medical treatment.
An LPA is a very powerful document and it is essential you choose your Attorney(s) with care. You can restrict or specify the types of decisions the attorney(s) can make if you feel you want to and you can name a replacement who will act if your attorney cannot.
If this is something you have not yet considered and you would like more information please contact Gail Weston in our Wills and Probate Department. She can offer a free thirty minute appointment to discuss it further and advise you of the costs if you choose to proceed. We can also offer special rates for a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney package.