Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) enable someone you trust to make the big decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so – and the decision to set one up or not is an extremely important one.
People are living longer on average nowadays than ever before, which means we all have a greater chance of needing someone to make decisions for us when we are older – and when you factor in the risk that any one of us could suffer an illness or accident that leaves us mentally incapacitated, making the decision to set up an LPA is definitely one for today and not tomorrow.
What is an LPA?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables your chosen attorney or attorneys (often, but not necessarily, family members) to act on your behalf and make the big decisions for you, if and when you are not able to do so for yourself any longer.
There are two types of LPAs – a Property and Financial Affairs LPA for making decisions relating to the management of your finances; and a Health and Welfare LPA for making decisions relating to you, such as where you should live, what type of medical and other treatment you should receive, your diet and medication.
Dos and Don’ts for setting up LPAs
The decision to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney is a big one and you should only make it after carefully considering all your options and when you are completely happy with your chosen attorney or attorneys.
As a guide, here are some factors to consider if you are thinking about setting up an LPA:
- Be sure you have 100 percent trust in your chosen attorney or attorneys
- Consider more than one attorney, or a series of attorneys
- Plan ahead. It is too late if you wait for the day you are no longer able to make decisions
- Remember you can change your mind and withdraw the power given to your attorney (whilst you still have capacity)
- Consider that if you lose your mental faculties without an LPA in place, the power to make decisions on your behalf won’t automatically pass to your family
- Feel pressured into choosing your attorney
- Worry about setting up an LPA too soon as your attorneys can only start making decisions for you from the date you become unable to make decisions yourself
How to set up LPAs
If you have someone who you trust completely with your personal, financial and all other affairs, and you are happy for that person to help you and to make decisions for you when you can’t make them for yourself, now or in the future, then you can set up a Lasting Power of Attorney and making that individual your attorney.
LPAs are all about trust as they give the attorney significant authority over your personal affairs, and you should only consider appointing people you have a special and strong relationship with.
There are many factors to consider and you are not limited to one attorney and nor are you locked in after you set one up as whilst you still have the mental ability to make decisions you can revoke your LPAs at any time and withdraw the given power.
LPAs are one of the best ways to protect yourself in the future, and to ease the distress on your family at an already difficult time. However, it’s advisable to speak to a professional solicitor before progressing with an LPA, especially if you have complex assets such as overseas property or business concerns, for detailed legal advice about whether you should go ahead.
For impartial advice and guidance on setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact our specialist Wills and Probate solicitors at our Failsworth office on 0161 681 4005 or at our Chorlton office on 0161 860 7123 or email email@example.com