Lasting powers of Attorney – Are they really needed?

With Samantha Kiley - Graham Evans & Partners

Thinking about what would happen if we suffered from a serious accident or mental illness is not something we like to think about. Sadly, however, these situations do happen, and usually without warning. It is therefore important to plan ahead and put provisions in place in order to avoid any problems occurring in the future.

One way to do this, is to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you, (whilst you are well and still have capacity), to appoint someone (who would be known as your Attorney) to make important decisions on your behalf, in the event that you can no long make these decisions yourself.

We at Graham Evans & Partners, believe that a Lasting Power of Attorney is one of the most undervalued tools at a person’s disposal.

The role of an Attorney is a very important and responsible one, as they can be granted quite considerable power to deal with your property and financial affairs and/or your health and welfare. It is therefore vital that you appoint someone to act as your Attorney, that you trust.

There are 2 different types of Lasting Power of Attorney that can be prepared: A Lasting Power of Attorney (Property and Financial Affairs) and a Lasting Power of Attorney (Health and Welfare).

Under a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney, an Attorney will be able to make decisions on your behalf about anything in relation to your property and financial affairs, such as paying bills, accessing bank accounts, to selling your home. Whereas under a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, an Attorney will be able to make decisions on your behalf in relation to all matters appertain-ing to your personal welfare; from deciding where you are to live, to being given the authority to make decisions on your behalf, in-regards to life sustaining treatment. (if you have provided for this in the document).

Unfortunately, many fail to plan ahead, and as a result, Lasting Powers of Attorney are only considered once capacity has been lost. Sadly, by then it is too late. A Lasting Power of Attorney MUST be put in place before a person has lost mental capacity. The key therefore is to act early.

If a person has lost capacity and does not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then this is when things can get more difficult. In this instance, the only option available, is for an application to be made by someone (whether this is a spouse; another relative; friend or professional) to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a Deputy.

This is a very long and expensive process, whereas a Lasting Power of Attorney can be prepared immediately and is the considerably cheaper option.

Our team believe that preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney is equally important as preparing a Will. Not only does it allow you to maintain control over decisions that affect your future (especially when you have lost the ability to make these decisions yourself), but it can provide peace of mind, and financial stability to yourself and your family.

Should you require any further information on Lasting Powers of Attorney or wish to make an appointment to discuss how Lasting Powers of Attorney can help you, please contact our Wills and Probate department on 01792 946479 or 01792 946485 or email us at:

WillsAndProbateDepartment@geplegal.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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