Lasting Powers of Attorney: a priority not an afterthought.
Undeniably, having a Will makes life easier for our loved ones once we have passed away. But how many of us approach our lifetime affairs in the same way?
Few of us want to think that we might lose our mental capacity or how we would cope with our financial affairs if we did. Yet, given the statistics – there are around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, of whom 40,000 are under 65, with this number forecast to exceed one million by 2025 according to the Alzheimer’s Society – it really is worth considering, especially as there is a way to plan ahead and ease the potential burden on your relatives should it happen to you.
If you have had a Will drafted by a solicitor, it is likely that you were asked to give Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) some thought. But this subject deserves to be more than a mere afterthought and we encourage people to view LPAs as an important part of planning for their family’s future.
An LPA is a document which allows a person to appoint trusted individuals or professionals, known as “Attorneys”, to take care of their property and finances (or health and welfare) should they no longer be able to do this for themselves.
It’s not always easy to admit that you may need extra help, however, it is important to plan for all eventualities. Don’t assume that because you have set up an LPA, you have lost control: you can choose to deploy it only when, or if, you lose mental capacity.
A little extra help from an Attorney may be useful if you are travelling and need business attending to at home, or if you’ve broken your leg so your mobility is temporarily hindered. Whatever the reason, an LPA allows you to control who looks after your affairs and how. You can include preferences and instructions in terms of how you would like your affairs managed, along with specific indications in respect of your health to guide your Attorneys in the right direction.
The crucial thing is to set up an LPA while you are still mentally capable – and certainly before it is ever needed. If you become mentally incapacitated later in life and don’t have an LPA in place, your relatives may face long, distressing delays and expense in applying to the Court of Protection for an Order to allow them to help you manage your affairs.
Whatever the reason, and however you reach the decision to enter into Lasting Powers of Attorney, they are always a good idea. They offer peace of mind and security to your family and friends, and even your employees if you arrange an Attorney to oversee your business affairs.
If you would like to discuss LPAs in more detail, and how they would work for you and your individual circumstances, please contact us 01228 552222.