There may be times when you need assistance in managing your affairs but without proper legal authority, family and friends may not be able to help. This can be frustrating particularly in situations where you may be stuck abroad, have fallen ill or simply unable to manage your affairs for whatever reason. The only way loved ones would be able to help is if you have a registered Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (often abbreviated to LPA) is a legal document which allows you to nominate one or more people you trust (called your Attorneys) to have legal authority to manage your affairs on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA, a Heath and Welfare LPA and a Property and Financial Affairs LPA.
Whilst a Health and Welfare LPA deals with your health and personal welfare such as day to day care and medical treatments, a Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your Attorney to make decisions about your finances, such as paying bills, claiming benefits, operating bank accounts or buying or selling property.
It is frequently thought that Lasting Powers of Attorney are only for the elderly or infirm but they can be of benefit to younger generations too.
There are many reasons why an LPA would benefit you; you may be out of the country for long periods of time, be involved in an accident, lose your mental or physical capacity or simply want someone to help manage your affairs.
By having an LPA you can rest assured that your affairs will be managed by the people you trust if you are unable to do so yourself. It also gives you the opportunity to record guidelines about how you would like decisions to be made in the event of you being unable to make them for any reason. For example you might want to ensure that your Attorneys continue to make donations to your favourite charities or give your grandchildren presents on their birthdays or, in the event of an illness or injury, you may wish to use alternative therapies as part of your treatment.
Without an LPA in place your family will have to apply to the Court of Protection who will either make a decision themselves or appoint a Deputy to make a decision on your behalf. The Deputy they appoint may or may not be the same individual as you would have chosen.
Applying to the Court of Protection is often a lengthy process and more costly than the relevant plans being put in place beforehand. More importantly perhaps is the fact that you are no longer in control of the process.
You have several options available to you if you would like to create your own LPA. The LPA document itself can be downloaded from the Office of the Public Guardian website. However, given the important and wide ranging powers of an LPA it is advisable to seek advice from a legal professional who is experienced in both completing and registering the document and will ensure that your preferences are recorded appropriately.
The Co-operative Will writing service offers a comprehensive Lasting Power of Attorney drafting service. They provide free advice on any questions you may have regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney, how they work and how they can help you. Their telephone based service is convenient to use and means you can arrange everything from the comfort of your own home.
They can also help you plan your future with their professional Will writing service, giving you complete peace of mind that the right plans are in place for the future.
For more information and free advice, call our expert team on 0845 600 5207.
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