In England and Wales, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) lets you grant legal authority to someone you trust to make decisions about your medical treatment, welfare or your finances. We outline the 5 main reasons why you should consider putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
1. If you become unable to express your wishes, someone can step in
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, no one will have legal authority to make decisions about your health and welfare or your financial affairs on your behalf. This means that if you suffer an accident or an illness (such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s) which means that you can no longer express your wishes, no one you know would be able to automatically step in and take control of matters. Not even your spouse, parent or child.
By putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can appoint an “Attorney” which means that you grant this person legal authority to make decisions for you in your best interests.
2. Your affairs will be managed by the person you choose
If you lost the capacity to express your own wishes and you didn’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, the only option for your loved ones to gain control of your affairs would be to apply to the Court for a Deputyship Order; which is a long and costly process. Someone would need to make this application to the Court and you would not have a say in who this person would be.
The Court would carefully consider the application and, if approved, they would grant this person (known as the Deputy) legal authority to manage your affairs. The Deputy would be accountable to the Court of Protection and not to your family.
This means that all of your decisions would be made by the person that the Court have chosen to appoint as your deputy, not by the person that you have chosen yourself.
3. You can choose the right LPA for your circumstances
There are two types of LPA, one covering health and welfare and the other covering property and financial affairs.
A Health and Welfare LPA will allow your Attorney to make decisions about medical treatment, your healthcare and your living arrangements. This would come into effect at the point at which you lack the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA will allow your Attorney to manage your finances, property and any financial assets that you own in England or Wales. Without this or a Deputyship Order, banks and other financial institutions would not speak about your financial affairs with anyone but yourself.
You can decide when you want your Property and Financial Affairs LPA to come into effect. This can be when you lack the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself, or it could be when you are still capable of managing your own affairs.
4. An LPA is significantly cheaper than the alternative
Putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney with Co-op Legal Services costs from £270 including VAT, while the cost of a Deputyship Order can quickly spiral into thousands of pounds. This is because with a Deputyship Order, the Court of Protection oversees the actions taken by the Deputy, so you are essentially paying for this supervision which can be charged on an annual basis.
By putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can save thousands of pounds as well as a lot of unnecessary time and stress for your loved ones.
5. It comes into effect as soon as it’s needed
Once you have your Lasting Power of Attorney in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that this can come into effect if and when it is ever needed. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney your loved ones may not initially know what to do or where to turn.
The process of applying for a Deputyship Order can be very long-winded. The application itself is in-depth and can take a significant amount of time to complete. Once submitted, it can take months before the Court approve the application. During this time, your loved ones will be powerless to step in and take control of your affairs for you. There may also be instances when the deputy has to seek the Court’s approval to make certain decisions which can delay matters as well as incur additional Court fees.