What happens if I can’t look after things any more?
Lasting Power of Attorney
What if you became incapacitated by illness, accident or simply old age? Who would
pay the bills, manage your savings, or even speak on your behalf on medical matters
etc? The best way to handle this is to create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
This lets you choose who you want to manage things for you – be that a relative or
a friend. To make an LPA you must be mentally capable, so putting it off now might
mean that it cannot be done later.
The LPA legislation came into force on 1st October 2007, replacing the rules for
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA). Existing EPAs remain valid, but only LPAs can
be made from that date forward. LPAs come in two versions
LPA Property & Financial Affairs (LPA-PFA) dealing with financial matters such as
your house, bank account, savings.
LPA Health & Welfare (LPA-HW) dealing with healthcare, medical matters etc.
The person (or people) you appoint as attorney must act in your best interests, and
your money and assets remain yours. Nevertheless, you can place restrictions on them
within the document if you feel it appropriate. Your Will writer can help you with
this, and it is often best done at the same time as making your Will.
What happens if there is no LPA? Your relatives would have to apply to the Court
of Protection, in order to be appointed your Deputy. This can be a lengthy process,
creating major worry and cost as it is all sorted out. It means that the choice is
taken away from you, which might mean that someone you do not like could take control
of your finances or could be appointed to speak on your behalf on medical issues.
Take control of the future by making an LPA now.
Your attorneys may need to register the LPA or an existing EPA with the Court of
Protection and your Will writers may be able to help with this process.