Should I have LPA's in place?
What would your reply be if we asked you what an LPA is? Do you know what one is?
An LPA, or Lasting Power of Attorney to give it it's full name, is a legal document that allows you to choose someone (your attorneys) to act in your best interests should you lose capacity, be that mentally or physically.
There are two types of LPA available;
Property & Financial
Health & Welfare
A Property & Financial LPA enables your chosen attorneys to make decisions on your behalf about your finances, for example; paying bills on your behalf, managing your bank accounts or buying/selling Property.
A Health & Welfare LPA allows your chosen attorneys to make decisions on your health & welfare needs, for example; making decision on the types of treatment you receive or choosing the type of care you require.
So, who should have an LPA in place? Well everyone!
Most people think that LPA's are just for the elderly, but we feel that everyone (over 18) should consider the need for having them in place.
Why do we think that?
What if you were involved in a car accident and physically incapacitated, maybe you have to stay in hospital during your recovery or are housebound for a period of time.
Or simply you work away from home for long periods of time, how do you manage your finances?
No-one can legally access your bank account but you (unless it's a joint account), so the answer could potentially be you cant!
As mentioned, it is recommended that the elderly have LPA's in place, with the Alzheimer's Society stating that by 2025 more than 1 million people in the UK will have Dementia.
As an aging population we know that Alzheimer's and Dementia are a risk which in turn brings into question the ability for those suffering from these diseases to make the best decisions for themselves.
Without a valid LPA in place your health & welfare decisions fall down to healthcare professionals. They may discuss any treatments you require with your family, but inevitably the decision on what to do rests purely with them and may not be what you ultimately wanted.
Are you a business owner? What would happen to your company if you lost capacity? Without a Business LPA in place your hard work could be wasted with no-one able to immediately take over the day to day running of your company.
Don't have LPA's in place and lose capacity?
Once mental capacity is lost the only way around this is to apply to the Court of Protection for Deputyship.
This can be costly with initial application fees, annual supervision fees and potential court hearing fees to pay.
It can be a lengthy procedure, in some cases it has taken up to 12th months for the Court of protection to reach their decision.
That could be 12 months without any access to your bank accounts (potentially any joint accounts too), which means no money coming in to pay for your bills, day to day living expenses, or even to pay the fees incurred to apply for the deputyship.
The Courts will have the right to reject applications and anyone can apply for deputyship, this may end in someone you wouldn't choose to act in your best interests.
Even if deputyship is granted to a person you trust, they may only be given limited powers and will be supervised by the Court of Protection.
What to do next?
Don't leave it too late! Get your affairs in order while you still have the capacity to choose your attorney's for yourself. If you would like more information on LPA's or to make an appointment contact us today.