Putting plans in place for life’s little surprises, to protect your future welfare and finances, can prove invaluable. In this blog, Acumen explains a pivotal tool in your planning armoury: Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
As we often extoll to our clients, the future is full of uncertainties. Whether you decide to wave goodbye to Britain for sunnier climes over the cold winter months, or are unfortunate to fall victim to a debilitating accident, both sides of the coin might require someone trustworthy to execute your affairs for you.
This is where a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can give you real peace of mind that the most important elements of your life are in the safe hands of someone handpicked by you to look after your personal welfare, finances or property.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
An LPA is a legal document that allows you, the Donor, to choose a trusted confidante, known as the Attorney, to make important decisions on your behalf. In the unfortunate event that you lack the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself, this essentially hands over control of any matters relating to your property, finances or personal welfare.
If you spend a considerable amount of time overseas, or have difficulty getting to your bank or building society, you can still appoint an Attorney to act on your behalf even if you are still mentally capable. An LPA can be made at any time, by anyone aged 18 or over with the mental capacity to do so, but can only be used after being registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
What are the different types of LPA?
There are two different types of LPA:
A Personal Welfare LPA gives your Attorney power to make daily decisions on your behalf regarding your personal welfare. This can include matters like where you live, your diet, and what medical treatment you receive. This type of LPA is only used when you are deemed to lack mental capacity.
Property and Affairs
A Property and Affairs LPA gives your Attorney license to make decisions about your property and finances. These can range from accessing your bank accounts, to selling your property or managing your finances. You can decide whether these powers come into effect immediately or only in situations when you lack capacity.
These replaced the old enduring power of attorney (EPA) system in October 2007. EPAs established before the changeover are still valid, regardless of whether they have been registered.
Why are LPAs important?
Believe it or not, nobody – not even your spouse or parents – has an automatic right to make decisions on your behalf. The sad reality is that should you lose mental capacity then your loved ones would be forced to apply for a Deputyship Order from the courts to make decisions on your behalf.
This costly and time consuming process (usually around six months for the court to reach a decision) can be a harrowing experience for everyone involved. Sometimes it can simply come too late. Although not strictly part of estate planning, arranging LPAs can be of great value to your beneficiaries, as they allow your affairs to be handled efficiently later on in life.
Speak to one of Acumen’s dedicated team members today about our estate planning services on 0151 520 4353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.