Do you worry about how your money and affairs would be looked after if your health deteriorated and you were no longer able to manage these yourself? The answer is to make Lasting Power(s) of Attorney (LPA’s) whereby you appoint one or more individuals (your attorney(s)) to manage your affairs for you should this situation arise.
These are not legal requirements, but highly recommended provided that you have someone or some people that you absolutely trust to make decisions on your behalf if you were no longer able to do so, for example a close family member.
There are two types of LPA, one relating to your financial affairs and property and the other to your health and welfare. You can put both or either of the powers of attorney in place, depending on your preferences.
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives your attorney(s) authority to deal with your property and finances when you lack mental capacity to deal with these yourself. They can also be used with your consent where you still have mental capacity (if you so wish).
The Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney(s) to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf, but only when you lack mental capacity to do so yourself. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life sustaining treatment.
LPA’s need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used, and this process takes around 2 months.
Whichever LPA you choose, you are choosing peace of mind. It is the only way of making sure that, if you can’t manage your own affairs, or if you are unable to make decisions for yourself, there will be somebody that you have chosen who can step in and take up the reins.
Many people think of completing an LPA as a bit like taking out an insurance policy - you do it when you are younger, hoping that it will never have to ‘pay out,’ but knowing that should it be needed, it is there.
If you do not have an LPA in place then your family or friends may have to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to deal with your affairs. This is referred to as a Deputyship Order. This application is costly and time consuming and ultimately it is the Court who decides who to appoint to make decisions on your behalf, not you. It is also quite onerous on the person(s) appointed in terms of their reporting requirements and is unlikely to cover your health & welfare.
Here at Henriques Griffiths we can advise you fully regarding the preparation and registration of LPA’s and offer a free initial consultation to discuss the same. If you would like to discuss further please do not hesitate to get in touch.