What is a Lasting Power of Attorney ?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and lack mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.
There are 2 types of LPA:
1. Health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
This Lasting Power of Attorney , ( LPA ) gives an attorney the power to make decisions on areas, such as:
- Your daily routine, for example washing, dressing, eating
- Medical care
- Moving into a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment
2. Property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.
This Lasting Power of Attorney , ( LPA ) gives an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
- Managing a bank or building society account
- Paying bills
- Collecting benefits or a pension
- Selling your home
The importance of having a Lasting Power of Attorney ( LPA ) in place.
It is a common misconception that people believe that their next of kin would automatically be able to take care of their affairs should mental capacity be lost, but this is not the case. Failure to have an LPA in place will mean next of kin would have to make an application to the Court of Protection to become your Deputy – which is both costly and lengthy. You also run the risk that the person appointed by the Court to handle your affairs may not be the person you would have chosen.
Will you try to do it yourself?
You may have seen on recent adverts and on the radio this weekend, that the Daily Mail were offering a free Do It Yourself Will kit, for everyone that purchased their newspaper. You may also have seen that Asda have started selling DIY Lasting Powers of Attorney kits. I could sit here for days talking about all of the reasons why it is an absolutely disastrous decision to create your own DIY Wills or LPAs! But I will instead be brief and to the point.
All too often we hear about cases of people creating DIY Wills, or even DIY Lasting Powers of Attorney, but with catastrophic effects when the person passes away or loses their mental capacity, because they were not qualified or knowledgeable enough to create these documents in the correct and most protective way. The trouble is, you don’t know what it is you don’t know!
The best way to have your Will contested at the time of your death, is by creating it yourself. This would give the person wanting to contest the Will, enough ammo to start suggesting that you didn’t have mental capacity at the time of creation, or that you didn’t understand what you were doing, or that it wasn’t executed correctly. All of which could leave your family and the people you wanted to benefit from your Estate, high and dry! Which is not what you would want to have happen!
The best analogy I could use, is that I wouldn’t attempt to perform surgery on myself, just because I did a Google search and Wikipedia told me how to do it. So why would you attempt to do your own Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney? It is just as important! They are critical, legal documents that must accurately reflect your wishes, in order to ensure that the right money, goes to the right people, at the right time.
So please, whether it is with ourselves, or whether it is with someone else – consult a professional. Don’t leave your families fate in the hands of chance. Let’s make sure your planning is completed correctly now, whilst you are fit and able to do so. Let’s do it once and do it right.
Call 07903 460472