Lasting Power of Attorney – separating the fact from the fiction

11 November 2020

You might know the basics when it comes to a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), but do you really know the fact from the fiction? We bust common myths around how an LPA works, who should make one and how it should be used.

To discuss making an LPA, please call our Lasting Power of Attorney specialists on 03306069591 or contact us online and we will help you.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that can be used to give someone you trust legal authority to make important decisions on your behalf, in case you become unable to make these decisions yourself. There are two types of LPA available in England and Wales. One covers your health and welfare, while the other covers your property and financial affairs.

Lasting Power of Attorney – fact or fiction?

Isn’t a Lasting Power of Attorney just for people who are unwell?

The sad reality is that an accident or illness can strike anyone at any age, often without warning. You can only make an LPA while you have sufficient mental capacity to understand its implications. If you don’t put an LPA in place until it’s needed, then it’ll already be too late.

Can’t my family just take care of matters for me?

If you lose the ability to make your own decisions, no one can automatically step in and take control for you. Not even your husband, wife or immediate family members can automatically make decisions about your finances or your health and welfare on your behalf. This even applies to the refusal of life sustaining treatment.

The only way you can give your loved ones the authority to immediately take control of your affairs and make important decisions on your behalf is by putting an LPA in place.

Could I use a joint account to give someone access to my money?

Banks will freeze bank accounts when the account holder loses mental capacity, including joint accounts. This means that your money could become inaccessible to your loved ones at exactly the time you need them to have access to it.

In addition, giving relatives informal access to your money through a joint account could put your finances at risk and also place your relative in a legal grey area.

With an LPA, your attorney’s activity will be supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), minimising the risks for you both and keeping everything above board.

Should I appoint more than one attorney?

It’s a good idea to name a backup attorney who can step in to act if your original attorney is unable or unwilling to do so when the time comes.

That said, we always advise against appointing multiple attorneys to act together jointly, as this can bring its own set of challenges. Some people assume that the best course of action is to appoint their spouse and their children to act jointly, but this means that all attorneys need to act together on every single matter. This is the case even if one attorney becomes unwell or dies, meaning the LPA could essentially become worthless.

When you make an LPA with Co-op Legal Services, our experts will talk you through your options and explain everything in detail, to make sure you’re completely clear on how it all works. We offer a range of service options to suit your needs – you can start your LPA online or you can speak to us over the phone, via video call or face to face.

To discuss making an LPA, please call our Lasting Power of Attorney specialists on 03306069591 or contact us online and we will help you.

More articles