An essential but often overlooked document is the Lasting Power of Attorney. In the event of you becoming seriously ill, falling into a coma or if you can otherwise not reliably make your own decisions, an LPA will ensure your affairs are kept in order.
Why do I need an LPA?
This simple document entitles an attorney of your choosing to handle your affairs for you when you’re incapable of doing so. Your attorney can be anybody you like, including close friends and family members.
An unforeseen, sudden illness such as a heart attack or stroke or having an accident and being in a coma could affect your ability to make your own decisions. Accessing someone’s finances in these situations is often a complex and protracted process if they do not have an appointed attorney – which could make things very difficult for a spouse, partner or your children.
“My spouse or partner can deal with everything if I’m not able to. Why do I need an LPA?”
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that their partner (or the next immediate family member) automatically has the right to look after their affairs if they’re unable to. Legally, however, they are not allowed to do this. An LPA needs to be chosen by the individual to see to their affairs legally.
The shocking truth
Without an LPA, bank accounts- including joint accounts- could be frozen, allowing unpaid bills to accumulate. This puts unnecessary pressure on your family, when all they want to be doing is looking after you in your time of need.
An LPA can come into effect quickly and easily, taking control of your affairs until you are well again, easing the financial and emotional strain on your family. Even when you are of sound mind, LPAs can be useful; your attorney could take care of your affairs whilst you are on an extended holiday, or in the event of you being hospitalised.
The Court of Protection
The Court of Protection will appoint a deputy to look after your affairs if you haven’t made an LPA. While there is a chance this may be someone close to you, it can quite often be someone appointed by the court- in other words, a complete stranger would be handling your affairs for you. The appointment process is very long and extremely costly; making an LPA before it’s too late could potentially save your estate an immense amount of money in fees.
Four Seasons can help you choose an LPA, and we’ll also register the LPA with the Office of Public Guardian.
It is important to act sooner rather than later. It is often impossible to foresee unfortunate circumstances- acting now can potentially save your family hardship in the future and help them through a difficult time.
We are experts in Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection
We have a legal team who specialise in all matters relating to Lasting Powers of Attorney. The individual needs of our clients are covered by our tailor made service. We provide the highest level of professional service possible to ensure the proper provisions are put in place for you and your family, now and in the future.
We regularly prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney and deal with Court of Protection issues, securing the best outcome possible for our clients. Make your LPA simply and conveniently in your own home. A Lasting Power of Attorney is an essential document that everyone should have to protect themselves and those important to them.
Contact us today to discuss further and to arrange a free home visit
Types of LPA
There are several types of LPA, all of which serve different purposes. Some give you greater control of your finances. Others give you a say on your future healthcare. Depending on your circumstances, you may require several types of LPA.
1. Property and Affairs
This LPA permits the people you choose to look after your financial affairs when you are no longer able. They are able to make decisions about buying and selling your property. They can open, close, and operate bank/building society accounts. Your attorney can also claim, receive and use your benefits in your best interests as specified by you. This money can be used for expenses, nursing home fees, utilities and other outgoings.
Having an LPA is a safe way of maintaining control over decisions made for you. This is because it has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. You choose the people appointed as Attorneys; your Attorneys must follow the Code of Practice and always act in your best interests.
2. Health and Welfare
This LPA permits your attorney(s) to act for you in respect of your personal affairs and welfare only. It allows the people you choose make decisions about giving or refusing consent to particular types of health care, including medical treatment decisions.
They can also decide whether or not you should stay in your own home, perhaps with help and support from social services. If it is best for you, they can also help you move into a residential home.
The LPA allows them to help choose the right care home for you, and also covers day-to-day routine, like your diet, dress, or daily routine.
3. Business LPA
If you have a business and you became ill or had a serious accident then you might find that your absence makes it difficult for your business to operate. Who can handle the finances and make decisions on your behalf specifically in relation to your business assets?
We all love our family and whilst they may be the best person to look after you personal property and affairs they may have no idea of the complexities involved with your business. A business LPA is an essential document for anyone in business.
You can have an entirely separate LPA appointing attorneys to act for you specifically in relation to your business affairs, appointing people you know and trust to run your business whilst you are unable to do so. You are safe in the knowledge that if something unexpected does happen – your business will continue to run as smoothly as possible until you are able to take back the reigns.
Once any of these LPAs are produced they need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used. We can take on this responsibility for you- ask your consultant about LPA registration.
What is an Enduring POA?
Prior to 1st October 2007, it was possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney rather than a Lasting Power of Attorney. Whilst it is no longer possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney today, many are still valid and in existence.
Many people are unsure about their old EPA and whether or not they are still valid; by contacting our specialist team at Four Seasons, you can receive confirmation as to whether or not the document is still valid. In some cases, a new LPA may need to be made.
EPA's did not need to be registered when initially made, but do still need to be registered if the person who made it loses capacity. We regularly undertake the registration of EPA's, which can be a time consuming and long drawn out process. Contact us today for an initial discussion about your EPA.
If you have already made an Enduring Power of Attorney, it is still valid, but it does not allow your attorneys to make decisions about your health and welfare.