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When do you need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

View profile for Amy Nelson
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Not when you think you do. By the time people think about it, it is often too late.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are often only associated with the elderly, but mental and physical incapacity can happen at any time. Whether through illness or accident, there may be a time when you need someone to act on your behalf. Often lawyers are instructed, or disputes arise because the right legal documents are not in place. Creating an LPA at the same time as your Will gives you peace of mind should the worst happen.

If someone has not made an LPA and they lose capacity, an application is made to the Court of Protection by whoever comes forward. In the event of a very sudden illness or accident, it may be necessary to make decisions for a loved one or access finances quickly. Without an LPA in place, making a Court of Protection application will inevitably result in delays.

There are two types of LPA:

The Health and Welfare LPA

This LPA can be used to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:

  • Your day to day care
  • Medical care and treatment
  • Decisions on care home options
  • Life-sustaining treatment

A health and welfare LPA can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about your money and property such as:

  • Managing your bank or building society account(s)
  • Collecting your benefits or pension
  • Paying your bills
  • Selling your home

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used as soon as it’s registered, with your permission.

You should review any LPAs in place at the same time as you review your Wills. Changes in your circumstances or reaching milestones in your life such as getting married, moving home and the arrival of your children should trigger the review of your legal documents. For business owners you should not just consider your personal circumstances but also your company. What would happen if you were suddenly incapacitated? Do you, your managers, or other directors have the authority to act on your behalf? A Business LPA can protect your business and staff.

Sadly, we often hear the words ‘if only’ and ‘it was on my to do list’ when applying for an emergency Court of Protection application. Not having time to put arrangements in place is a common reason people express. This is why BakerLaw have introduced commuter clinics with out of office hours appointments available for those juggling work and family lives.

If you would like to discuss creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact our private client team on 01252 907829.

This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.