There are some scary statistics doing the rounds regarding Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs). As a provider of Wills online we feel duty bound to ensure all our customers are aware of the purpose and importance of this legal document, so here’s the low down …
One of the Will writing industry’s key publications, Wills & Probate News, reported this week that over 75% of carers may not be aware of the benefits of a LPA. According to a recent YouGov survey, commissioned by Carers’ Trust, 82% of respondents had not made a LPA. This is very worrying given the negative impact that a loved one not having a LPA in place would have on their carers, so we thought we’d share what you need to know.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document giving someone you trust the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity at some time in the future, or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
‘Lacking mental capacity’ is a legal term, and at some point in all our lives, our Dr or social care provider may need to make an assessment to judge whether we still have mental capacity. This point arrives, usually, because of an accident or a diagnosis of an illness or mental or learning disability. With the predicted ongoing increase in the incidence of dementia, LPAs are becoming an increasingly important way to ensure people’s wishes regarding their health and finances are respected.
In fact, if you want to ensure you stay in control of decisions relating to your care and your finances – you need a LPA now, because, if you lose mental capacity and do not have a LPA, it will be the legal courts that decide how you will be cared for – not your loved ones. Although your family can apply for the right to make such decisions, doing so is a long, expensive, complicated and painful experience from which you can save them by simply making your LPA now.
A basic standard LPA includes:
There are three types of LPA: a Property and Financial LPA; a Health and Welfare LPA and a Business LPA. You can find out more about each in My Estate Planning Expert’s article 7 Little Known Facts about LPAs.
We’re aware that this web site is planning to write more about Business LPAs (perhaps the least widely known about of the three) soon, so stay tuned in if you own a business or are a director of a business because having a Business LPA may become a legal requirement.
In short – everyone!
As Jack Straw, Former Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice said when he launched LPAs back in 2007:
“We all know how important it is to plan for the future. Having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)...in place should be as common and natural as making a Will. It ensures that a person of your choosing will be able to manage your affairs should you lose capacity, be it as a result of dementia, mental illness or an accident.”
You can write one yourself. Be aware though that, for any LPA to be legally binding, you must register it with the Office of the Public Guardian. If you do not, it is the Court of Protection that will decide your fate should you lose capacity, which could leave your family (and your business) with unimaginable financial and emotional problems.
Or you could use a legal service company, such as our parent company, The Will Associates, who offers a range of estate planning services and legal documents, including Trusts, Funeral Plans as well as LPAs.
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