3 important reasons why you should organise a Lasting Power of Attorney now

By HarperLees

It’s hard for anyone to truly know what the future will hold. Unfortunately, there may be a time when you are unable to manage your financial affairs or welfare without support and assistance.

That’s why it is so important that you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place.

Worryingly, a report by Canada Life revealed that, in 2022, 4 in 5 polled UK adults did not have an LPA in place, despite how important they can be.

With This is Money also reporting that backlogs mean families are having to wait more than five months for these vital documents, it could well be worth you making an LPA now.

So, read on to find out what an LPA is and the three important reasons why you should put one in place to help you and your family in the future.

Have complete control over what happens to you in the future

When you put an LPA in place, you will be appointing one or more people, also known as “attorneys”, to help you manage your financial affairs or make decisions on your behalf.

For instance, if you develop an illness or have an accident and are then unable to make your own decisions, or you lose mental capacity, an LPA will give you complete control over what happens to you in the future.

Without an LPA, your loved ones could be locked out of your financial affairs, as your partner or spouse may not automatically be able to gain access to your investments, insurance, or your bank accounts.

When applying for an LPA, there are two types available: health and welfare, and property and financial affairs.

1. Health and welfare LPA

An appointed health and welfare attorney will be able to deal with any medical, social and welfare concerns on your behalf. This LPA will give your chosen attorney the ability to make decisions about any day-to-day routine healthcare, life-sustaining treatment options, and your personal welfare on your behalf. They would also deal with all medical and social services staff.

It’s important to note that this power of attorney can only be triggered after you have lost mental capacity, and not before. Your attorney(s) can step in immediately if, for example, you are diagnosed with dementia.

2. Property and financial affairs LPA

Having this LPA in place would mean your attorney could have the authority and power to make decisions about your money and property on your behalf. This could include collecting your benefits or pension, buying and selling property, paying any bills, and managing your bank accounts.

The benefit of this LPA is that you can choose when it comes into effect, making it ideal for people with full mental capacity that still want assistance managing their property and financial affairs.

Additionally, if you lose mental capacity or you are in hospital for a period, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that someone you trust is managing your bills and household finances while you are unable to.

3 reasons why you should put an LPA in place

1. It puts you in complete control, giving you peace of mind

Having an LPA in place means you have control over who you appoint to act for you and what decisions they are able to make on your behalf.

For instance, when you are organising an LPA, you won’t have to limit yourself to just one person. You would be able to nominate multiple people, as well as successors, to protect yourself if something happens to your original choice of attorney.

Similarly, with an LPA organised, you could also specify whether your appointed attorneys will have to agree on a decision or whether they can act individually. This could be of use if you need to think about specific areas and pick people with experience or expertise to help with each element of your care.

Additionally, if you run a business, you might want to appoint co-directors, or colleagues, to oversee your business interests. This would allow you to keep your personal and business affairs separate and have the peace of mind of knowing they are all overseen by trusted and specifically appointed people.

Having an LPA in place would also enable you to specify the decisions that your appointed attorneys can make. For example, you might want to exclude decisions on finances, such as property, or on certain elements of end-of-life care.

Choosing what decisions can be made by each appointed attorney will give you complete peace of mind of knowing that your affairs will be looked after in line with your wishes.

It is worth bearing in mind that if you lose mental capacity, it would be too late to put an LPA in place. So, it’s something that you should consider organising sooner rather than later.

2. It can enable quick decisions

If you have organised an LPA and you suddenly become incapacitated, your chosen attorney can take over the running of your affairs immediately.

Conversely, if you don’t have an LPA in place, your loved ones would need to appoint a deputy, which involves a potentially time-consuming application to the Court of Protection.

This could be more expensive and take several months to conclude, leaving your family in a difficult position while the application was being made.

3. It can either be temporary or lasting

Alongside use when suffering from long-term conditions like dementia, you can also utilise an LPA if you are temporarily hospitalised or recovering from an accident.

For example, if you were in hospital for an extended period, your attorney could manage your finances until you were fully recovered.

Remember that you can remove or alter a temporary LPA once you are able to prove your mental capacity.

Get in touch

If you are planning ahead and want to know more about looking after yourself and your loved ones in the future, speak to us. We will talk you through the process of putting an LPA in place and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Please email info@harperlees.co.uk or call 01277 350560.

Please note

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.