Yes you do. Here at Sovereign Wills & Estate Planning we are always banging our drum about the importance of making a Will to take care of your affairs after you die – but we also know that setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney is just as vital to take care of your financial and health needs should you lose mental capacity.
- It’s not a nice thought but what would happen to you, your family, your choices, your finances and everything else in your life if you were no longer in a position to deal with your own affairs?
- If you had an accident that rendered you incapacitated or you developed dementia and quickly lost mental capacity to make the right decisions for yourself?
- How would you and your loved ones cope?
By drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney now, means that you still have control over your affairs if and when you need it most – in the future. If you become unwell or lose capacity, a Lasting Power of Attorney (from herein an LPA) means that you have given someone you trust the power to make right decisions about your money, health and care for you.
If you don’t have an LPA in place and you are over the age of 18, then we would strongly advise that you draw one up. LPAs are time-critical documents and you must have mental capacity when arranging one. If you know you have a deteriorating illness or feel you may lose mental capacity in the future, now is the time to act.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can assist with decisions around your finances and health and care when you are no longer in a position to make your own decisions. If you think you may have already made and signed an EPA (Enduring Power of Attorney), this would have been replaced by an LPA in October 2007, so it is worth getting it double checked; the Power should still exist but you may need further advice.
Who should I choose as my Attorney?
The person you choose must be over the age of 18 and needs to be someone you trust to make decisions for you. Most people select their spouse, partner, other family member or close friend. You can choose more than one Attorney, but you need to make it crystal clear how the decisions should be made.
Do I give my Attorney full power?
Not necessarily. If you only want the person you appoint to be able to deal with some matters and not others, you can. We can help you with this during the application process before you sign it.
What is the role of the Attorney?
The person you appoint as your Attorney will have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf should you lose your mental capacity or you feel that you do not want to make personal decisions anymore. They will have access to your bank/building society accounts, manage your property affairs and sign for decisions around finances, medical and ongoing care. The Attorney has a duty of care to you and your financial accounts must be kept separate from theirs. All financial dealings must be recorded.
What will happen to me if I lose capacity and haven’t made an LPA?
If you don’t have an LPA or an EPA pre-2007 in place and you lose capacity, you will have to apply to the Court of Protection who will make an order about decisions on your finances, health or care, or appoint a deputy to act on your behalf. It is far safer, to appoint someone you trust while you still can.
Why are there two types of LPAs?
There are two variations of LPA – one for financial decisions and one for health and care. The Property and Financial Affairs LPA will apply if you still have capacity or have lost capacity; the Health and Welfare LPA, only comes into effect when you have lost capacity.
I think I need an LPA to safeguard me – what do I need to do?
It is advisable that you see a professional when it comes to drawing up an LPA as they will have the know-how you need to safely protect you in the future.
Sovereign Wills & Estate Planning has been dealing with LPAs for many years with many, many happy clients. We have the knowledge, expertise and legal experience to make sure that your wishes are taken care of should you lose capacity, giving you complete peace of mind no matter what the future holds.
For a friendly, free and informal chat about how we can help you, give us a call today.