Why Should You Have a Lasting Power Of Attorney?

Posted:6th June 2016

Few of us want to consider the fact that we may lose mental capacity in the future, and fail to realise the impact that this can have on managing our affairs. Putting in place a Lasting Power Attorney (LPA) is a way to plan for the future, and make it easier for your loved ones to help in the unfortunate case that you do lose or begin to lose ‘mental capacity’.

Under an LPA your attorneys are under a duty to always act in your best interest. This means they will always make decisions that benefit you most, whether they’re property and financial or health and welfare related.

Property & financial affairs
You give your Attorneys the same power that you have over your own property and financial affairs. They will therefore be able to sell or rent property, make investments, run your bank accounts (including state pension and benefits, private pensions, savings, investments and day-to-day spending). An LPA allows your attorney to manage all your income and outgoings in your best interests. Attorneys however are unable to make gifts of your property and finances unless it was a gift that you would have been expected to make for example for family birthdays and Christmas, and the amount of the gift must be reasonable.

Health and Welfare
An LPA also allows your attorney to manage decisions concerning any medical treatment you may require as well as day-to-day decisions about diet, dress, where you live and who you have contact with. The document will deal with ‘life-sustaining’ treatment (any treatment that is necessary to keep you alive) and whether you want to give your attorneys the power to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. You are however able to decide that only medical professionals are able to make a decision about life-sustaining treatment for you in the LPA document.

When Should I Get one?
An LPA can only be put in place when you have the mental capacity to understand what it is and how it will work. Therefore, we encourage our clients to act as soon as possible, especially in cases where they have been diagnosed with a condition that is not going to improve over time.

Once an LPA is signed, registration can take in the region of 8-12 weeks. However, here at EMG, we can discuss whether registration straightaway is right for you, or whether you wish to wait.

Remember, putting an LPA in place and appointing attorneys is your decision to make – your friends or family cannot make it for you.

Get in touch with our helpful team to arrange a face-to-face appointment where we will talk about matters in more detail and prepare these vital LPAs on your behalf.