5 Reasons To Have An LPA
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that outlines your wishes and allows you to choose a trusted individual (referred to as your Attorney) to manage your affairs should you become incapacitated through accident or illness.
Many people think that LPAs are only for elderly people; however anyone over the age of 18 with full mental capacity can legally request an LPA to ensure that if something happens then your affairs are managed as you wish.
There are two types of LPAs –
Health and Welfare LPA, which manages your medical wishes and ongoing care and routines needed due to your medical needs.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA, this deals with your finances – the paying of bills and collection of benefits. This allows your chosen Attorney access to your finances.
But why is writing an LPA a good idea? Below are 5 main reasons to write an LPA
Reason 1: You never know what the future holds
With a LPA already in place you are planning for yours and your family’s future in advance, whether this is your medical or financial wishes.
LPAs are not solely for elderly people. In fact we never know when incapacitating illnesses or an accident could happen, so having an LPA already in place will help your loved ones to clearly know your wishes.
Reason 2: Faster processes
If you are incapacitated without an LPA in place then your wishes are not legally known and your chosen person (attorney) will not be handling your affairs.
In the case that there is no LPA, then a Deputy would have to be appointed through the Court of Protection – a time-consuming and costly process. Most applications take a minimum of 3 months (sometimes longer for more complex cases) for a Deputy to be appointed and this can cost your loved ones up to £365.
During this time your assets will not be able to be accessed which can lead to financial hardship and medical decisions can be made without your family’s consent by medical professionals.
Reason 3: You’re taking control of your future
Thinking about ill-health or accidents happening in your future can often be seen as taboo, as though it will bring bad luck. However, by thinking about your wishes whilst your still have your full mental capacity can mean you’re taking control of your future and helping to protect your loved ones.
Furthermore, by thinking about and discussing your wishes with your family during the process of the writing of an LPA may open many beneficial discussions and help your family also consider their own wishes.
By appointing someone you trust as your Attorney, then you will be safe in the knowledge that your affairs will be managed according to your wishes, without bias or coercion.
An LPA will also ensure that you can make specific decisions in relation to your finances or your health in advance and ensure these are legally documented meaning there is clarity, such as long-term care requirements.
Remember LPAs can only be triggered when you’re deemed as incapacitated. After that they can’t be changed (unless you’re deemed as proving mental capacity in the future). Therefore, you need to keep regularly revisiting and updating an LPA and be secure in the decisions that you make.
Reason 4: You can choose the people you trust
Your choice of attorney is your own. You can chose one person or multiple people, or even successors, to cover if something happens to your original choice of attorney at any time.
You could specify different attorneys for different areas of your life; medical, financial or even business. You can also specify if each attorney can make decisions independently or whether decisions have to be made when all are in agreement. Your choices may even be linked to your attorney’s areas of expertise, i.e., Doctors or Nurse for medical decisions, Accountants or Financial advisors for your financial decisions.
For business decisions, you may specify a business partner or colleague to solely have power of business decisions if you own your own business. This would be a separate business LPA.
Reason 5: LPAs can be long-term or temporary
As we stated earlier then a medical LPA could be triggered for a short-term illness or injury that means you temporarily don’t have full-mental capacity (i.e. if you were to be in a coma) as well as for longer term illnesses such as dementia
A financial LPA can be triggered by yourself prior to losing capacity, for example in old age to assure that your wishes are met when you lose your full capacity.
If an LPA is triggered, it can be removed or altered once you can prove mental capacity.
Register an LPA once and it can remain in place for your lifetime. However, you can alter it after it’s initially registered to make changes throughout your life.
You have peace of mind that your financial affairs and wellbeing will be looked after if you are no longer able. And because you have chosen your attorney, you know you can trust them to act in your best interests and give your family and loved one’s peace of mind.