10 reasons to make a Lasting Power of Attorney now
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are legal documents that allow you as an adult to choose individuals you trust to make decisions on your behalf should the situation arise where you are unable to do so, regarding your property & financial affairs as well as health & welfare issues. These documents are commonly associated with only being for older generations. However, this is not true.
LPAs were introduced by the Mental Capacity Act, 2005, to provide a statutory framework to handle situations where adults lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves.
There are many reasons why you should give thought to making a Lasting Power of Attorney earlier than later in your life.
While you are fit and able, you have the option of choosing which individuals in your life, you feel are best suited for the role and can be trusted to manage your affairs. Thus, enabling them to make decisions on your behalf following your outlined instructions and acting as you would have.
When creating a Property & Financial Affairs Power of Attorney the document can be designed to be put into effect instantly. This means that even while you have the mental capacity, your attorney can keep your affairs in order with your written consent. This practicality can be beneficial if abroad for example.
- Legal Protection
All Lasting Powers of Attorneys are deemed to be legal documents which authorise your specified people to make decisions on your behalf. However, if at any time you give any bank cards to a trusted relative or friend without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, in essence, they will be committing fraud.
Go for a safer option, whereby utilising a Lasting Powers of Attorney, and you gain further levels of protection as these powers are regulated and governed by the Office of the Public Guardian. They have the authority to investigate any alleged abuse or misuse of funds by an Attorney.
- Your Decisions
Even once you’ve made your LPA, you do not lose control, it will only become live if you give permission or lose mental capacity. A professionally created LPA can also feature details of your decisions and instructions for your attorney to follow. Allowing you and your family to retain control if you become incapacitated.
All LPAs must be made while you are mentally capable of making the decision. As soon as you become unable to understand the document, you will not be allowed to produce one. As you may already realise, incapacity can occur at any time in your life. Therefore it is essential to create an LPA sooner rather than later, because once you lose capacity it is too late.
- Avoiding losing your choice of attorney, extra expense and long waiting times
If you do not have an LPA in place prior to any incapacity arising, your relatives will need to pursue an application to the Court of Protection to enable them access to your finances. As you can imagine this will incur substantial costs and processing time can be lengthy. The average application currently will take between seven to nine months to reach a final decision. On top of that, you will also lose the choice as anybody can apply for permission to handle your affairs, and the Court of Protection may appoint a professional deputy rather than a family member. In the time taken for the deputyship to be granted your family will not be able to access your bank accounts or make any decisions on your behalf.
- What if you are also concerned with your business?
LPAs can be limited to dealing with your business only. This permits you to create a separate LPA to your personal affairs and choose the people you trust to signing business related documentation, on your behalf, especially during any periods of absence. Thus allowing the ability to separate all your business interests from your personal affairs entirely, and enabling your business to continue to function in your absence.
- Your Personal Affairs.
By putting your valuable LPA documents in place, it will make life easier for your loved ones and relatives, certainly in what will invariably be a stressful and challenging time for them. In particular, the Health & Welfare document will allow your Attorneys to have the ability to make decisions on where you will live, what care will be available, day to day matters such as diet and your attire. They can also have the power to consent to or refuse medical treatment on your behalf, this is your choice as to give them this power or not when drafting the LPA.
- The most important – Your Peace of Mind.
Unless you decide for any reason at a later date to revoke them, these LPAs will last for the duration of your lifetime. By doing this it gives your family the security and the authority to deal with any issues that will arise if the worst case scenario happens.
Although LPAs are detailed in content, they must also be flexible in allowing the different appointments of your Attorneys. Some will be jointly acting together, others you may wish to work independently.
Hopefully, you will find comfort with the knowledge gained from this article on how to begin the process of retaining control of the personal and business aspects of your life by appointing those persons you find entirely trustworthy to continue acting on your behalf should you become unable to communicate with them directly by yourself.