I am often asked why someone should make an ‘LPA’ or Lasting Power of Attorney. Life is of course unpredictable, and none of us ever quite knows what lies around the corner, so I find I regularly make LPAs for people in their 30s and 40s, as well as those in older age groups.
In an LPA, you appoint trusted people to run your affairs for you, in case you ever became unable to do so yourself as a result of an illness or accident. By way of illustration, below is a table comparing the position if someone – let’s call him Charles – was to suffer an illness or accident which leaves him unable to run his affairs in the usual way, both with and without an LPA.
|Without an LPA||With an LPA|
|Charles’ close family does not have the right to make decisions on his behalf. |
Bills can’t be paid using Charles’ money. Bank accounts in Charles’ sole name, and even some bank accounts in joint names with his wife, are frozen.
A property can’t be sold, and so Charles’ wife or partner can’t move house if she wants to or perhaps needs to, in order to accommodate his requirements.
Charles’ wife or partner and his children don’t have a right to make decisions about his medical treatment, nor about decisions such as where he should live.
Investment decisions can’t be made, and any previous authority given to make investment decisions is cancelled when Charles loses capacity.
|Charles has legally appointed attorneys of his choice, who can run his affairs for him if he was ever unable to do so. |
Bills can be paid in the usual way from all of Charles’ bank accounts.
The attorneys have power to deal with both financial decisions and decisions about Charles’ medical care and his wellbeing more generally.
The family home could be sold and a new one purchased, if necessary.
Investment decisions can be made on Charles’ behalf.
In summary, if you don’t plan ahead and then suffer an illness or accident which means you lose mental capacity, the only way for your family to obtain legal authority to act on your behalf would be by applying to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. This is a lengthy, slow and costly process which can take over a year to complete.
|By planning ahead, you can choose who you would like to have legal authority to act on your behalf in the event of lifetime incapacity. The advantages of this are that (a) your attorneys can step in as soon as they are needed, and (b) it is much less costly to make LPAs than to make a court application.|
Chiltern Wills is a Will writing business based in Beaconsfield and run by former London solicitor, Rebecca D’Arcy. Call us on 01494 708688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free initial discussion about how we can help with your Will or Lasting Powers of Attorney.