While drafting a will is on most people’s to-do list, many people do not realise the importance of appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney.
While a will sets out your wishes following your death, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) ensures you live the quality of life you desire while you’re still alive.
There is no overlap between a LPA and a will – the Lasting Power of Attorney ceases the moment you die, and your will then comes into effect.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A LPA is a document which enables one or more people to legally make decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity to do so yourself.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – one that looks after your financial affairs and one that covers your health and welfare. You can appoint different people to deal with your finances and health and welfare, or one person can oversee both if you wish.
When would I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Should you suffer a debilitating accident or a decline in mental health, such as the onset of dementia, a Lasting Power of Attorney will help relieve the burden of dealing with your finances and decisions relating to your health for your family, by appointing a person to oversee these decisions.
Many people don’t recognise the importance of entering into a Lasting Power of Attorney until they reach a certain age, and have the view that as they become older, this is when a Lasting Power of Attorney would be required.
This isn’t the case though, as anyone can be involved in a sudden accident which renders them incapable of making important decisions. The increase in people being diagnosed with early onset dementia is also on the rise, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you have plans in place.
What happens if I don’t have a LPA?
If you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then your family will have to go through a stringent legal process by applying to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy who is then able to make decisions on your behalf.
Appointing a deputy is a lengthy and costly process, so making a LPA is vital to prevent your family dealing with this burden.
A LPA is a vital document at any age and can only be made once you are over the age of 18 and have the capacity to do so, so it’s important to act quickly to give yourself more control over what happens to you when you can no longer make decisions.
WHN Solicitors has a team of dedicated Wills and LPA specialists who have been advising local individuals and families for over 100 years.
If you would like to discuss making a Lasting Power of Attorney or if you would like any further information, please contact Holly Gethin at WHN’s Bury office on 0161 761 4611, or contact Jake Neary on 01254 236221 for an appointment at WHN’s Blackburn, Accrington or Great Harwood offices.