Why Both Types of Lasting Power of Attorney are So Important
No one wants to think about losing their mental capacity and having someone else make decisions for them, but the sad reality is that this could happen to anyone. And if you don’t have one or both types of Lasting Power of Attorney in place, your family will be left unable to access any of your finances or make decisions for you, without going through a long and expensive Court process.
Just last week, the BBC reported on a 97-year old lady who watched her daughter get arrested for trying to take her out of a care home. The 73 year-old retired nurse hadn’t had any contact with her mother for 9 months because of the coronavirus pandemic and just wanted to care for her at home.
In the same week, TV presenter Kate Garraway spoke out about how her life had been affected since her husband was taken into hospital in March with Covid-19. She spoke about how all of her family finances are in her husband’s name, so she couldn’t access any of the bills or insurance policies they had.
Both of these situations are heartbreaking for the families involved, and the coronavirus pandemic has likely put many families in similar difficult situations.
The best way to make sure that your family is never put in an unthinkable situation like those above, is to make sure you get a both types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) completed and registered as soon as possible.
Both LPAs will then protect your family so they won’t have to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint someone as a Deputy who can make decisions for you, but it could take over a year for a Deputyship Order to be issued by the Court.
Our Wills and Trusts Solicitors offer free initial legal advice on getting Lasting Powers of Attorney, and can register one LPA or both with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
What Can an LPA do?
A Lasting Power of Attorney can give someone (whoever you choose to be your Attorney) the power to make decisions for you if you can no longer make them for yourself.
In England and Wales, the two kinds of LPA are:
- Property and Financial Affairs
- Health and Welfare
It’s best to get both Lasting Powers of Attorney at the same time to make sure you’re covered for all situations, and it’s quicker too.
No one will be able to make decisions about your health and welfare unless you lack the mental capacity to do it yourself.
But with a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, you don’t need to have lost mental capacity to use it. This will protect you if you ever find yourself in a similar situation to Kate Garraway and her husband. For example, if you were seriously injured in an accident, fall ill and need a family member to handle your finances for a certain amount of time.
We understand that Lasting Powers of Attorney aren’t easy to think about, and it may be the case that you never need to use yours. But just like having home and car insurance, it’s so important to have your LPAs in place, as you never know what the future will bring.
Why are Both LPAs So Important?
Both kinds of Lasting Power of Attorney are so important because they let you choose who will make decisions for you should you ever be become incapacitated for any length of time.
If you don’t have your LPAs registered with the OPG and your family are forced to make an expensive and long-drawn-out application for Deputyship, you still won’t be able to decide who is appointed as Deputy.
A Deputy will have the power to make decisions about things such as whether you will get life-changing medical treatment. So it’s really important that the person that will make these serious decisions is someone you trust. It’s better that you make the choice yourself so you know they are the right person for the job.
The Myth about Next of Kin
Many people think that their next of kin can make decisions for them, but legally this is not the case.
If you have any questions about a Lasting Power of Attorney, our Wills and Trusts Solicitors can help you. We will be happy to talk to you about your options and can register any Lasting Power of Attorney documents for you.
How Much Does an LPA Cost?
It costs just £82 to register each LPA with the Office of Public Guardian (they’ll keep records of your LPAs too.)
If your family have to go through the Court of Protection to apply to be Deputy, the application will cost £385, and that’s without any Solicitor fees to ensure the process is completed as quickly as possible.
So getting both kinds of Lasting Power of Attorney will mean that the person you choose can make decisions for you as soon as they need to without having to spend time and money in what might already be an emotional time.
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