Why should you consider setting up your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
As you get older, setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a crucial step in ensuring that your affairs are managed properly if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. An LPA is a legal document that allows someone to be appointed to make decisions on your behalf.
“As you get older, you may experience age-related conditions that affect your ability to make decisions. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are examples of such conditions, which can be distressing and overwhelming for you and the whole family. Having an LPA in place can provide peace of mind that your affairs will be managed properly and that your wishes will be respected.” – Jobeth Copping-Barrett – Head of Private Client Division, Sinclair Law Solicitors.
If this is difficult for you, you can ask for help from your family, loved ones or a private client solicitor.
Here are some reasons why you should consider setting up an LPA:
- Managing finances and property
An LPA for Property and Financial Affairs allows your appointed attorney to manage your finances and make decisions about your property and assets. This includes paying bills, managing investments, and selling or buying property. It ensures that your affairs are managed correctly if you are no longer able to do it yourself.
- Making healthcare decisions
An LPA for Health and Welfare allows your appointed attorney to make decisions about your healthcare and welfare. This includes decisions about medical treatment, where you live, and who you have contact with. It ensures that your wishes are respected and that the decisions made are in your best interests.
- Avoiding Court of Protection
Without an LPA, if you become unable to make decisions for yourself, a Deputyship application may be required. This process is often lengthy and costly, and the person appointed may not necessarily be the one you would have chosen. An LPA can avoid the need for a Court of Protection application and ensure that your wishes are respected.
- Peace of mind
Having an LPA in place can provide peace of mind for both you and your loved ones. It can alleviate the stress and worry that your family may experience if they have to make decisions on your behalf without legal authority.
Setting up an LPA
To set up an LPA, you will need to:
- Choose an attorney
Your attorney should be someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf. It can be a family member, friend, or professional such as a solicitor. You can have up to four attorneys. It is also worth considering appointment replacement attorney(s), who are able to act in the event one or all of your attorneys are unable to act.
- Fill out the forms
The forms to set up an LPA can be obtained from the Office of the Public Guardian or from the gov.uk website. The forms will require information about you, your attorney and your wishes.
- Register the LPA
Once the forms are completed, you will need to register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. There is a fee for this service.
Registering a lasting power of attorney is a crucial step that must be taken before it can be utilised. The responsibility of registering the LPA lies with the person arranging it (donor), who must do so when they are deemed to have ‘mental capacity,’ or it can also be done by the attorney.
- Activating the LPA
There is no formal procedure required to ‘activate’ an LPA. The appointed attorney can use the LPA at any time after it has been registered, although many individuals prefer to delay its use to maintain your (the donor’s) independence for as long as possible. It’s important to note that an LPA takes effect immediately upon registration and is not dependent on you, the donor, losing their mental capacity. However, it is usually upon the production of a diagnosis by a GP or social worker that a nominated attorney will seek to actively make decisions on your behalf. In addition, many donors find that with a LPA in place, if mobility becomes an issue, the use of the previously registered LPA can be to great advantage.
“Setting up an LPA is an important step in ensuring that your affairs are managed properly if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. It can provide peace of mind for both you and your loved ones and avoid costly and lengthy legal processes.” – Jobeth Copping-Barrett
If you are considering setting up an LPA, seek legal advice from a private client solicitor who can guide you through the process. Contact Sinclair Law Solicitors today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and learn more about your options for setting up an LPA.