A Lasting Power of Attorney
An essential but often overlooked document is the Lasting Power of Attorney. In the event of you becoming seriously ill, falling into a coma or if you can otherwise not reliably make your own decisions, an LPA will ensure your affairs are kept in order.
This simple document entitles an attorney of your choosing to handle your affairs for you when you’re incapable of doing so. Your attorney can be anybody you like, including close friends and family members.
An unforeseen, sudden illness such as a heart attack or stroke or having an accident and being in a coma could affect your ability to make your own decisions. Accessing someone’s finances in these situations is often a complex and protracted process if they do not have an appointed attorney – which could make things very difficult for a spouse, partner or your children.
“My spouse or partner can deal with everything if I’m not able to. Why do I need an LPA?”
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that their partner (or the next immediate family member) automatically has the right to look after their affairs if they’re unable to. Legally, however, they are not allowed to do this. An LPA needs to be chosen by the individual to see to their affairs legally.
The shocking truth!
Without an LPA, bank accounts- including joint accounts- could be frozen, allowing unpaid bills to accumulate. This puts unnecessary pressure on your family, when all they want to be doing is looking after you in your time of need.
An LPA can come into effect quickly and easily, taking control of your affairs until you are well again, easing the financial and emotional strain on your family. Even when you are of sound mind, LPAs can be useful; your attorney could take care of your affairs whilst you are on an extended holiday, or in the event of you being hospitalised.
The Court of Protection
The Court of Protection will appoint a deputy to look after your affairs if you haven’t made an LPA. While there is a chance this may be someone close to you, it can quite often be someone appointed by the court- in other words, a complete stranger would be handling your affairs for you. The appointment process is very long and extremely costly; making an LPA before it’s too late could potentially save your estate an immense amount of money in fees.
We can help you choose an LPA, and we’ll also register the LPA with the Office of Public Guardian.
It is important to act sooner rather than later. It is often impossible to foresee unfortunate circumstances- acting now can potentially save your family hardship in the future and help them through a difficult time.