What is a Lasting Power of Attorney and how could it help you?

Whilst many of us understand the benefits of having a Will, you may be less familiar with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) which appoints someone to help you make your own decisions or make decisions on your behalf.

This is a legal document which names an attorney who is likely to be a member of your immediate family, a loved one or a legal professional. Having an LPA in place gives you more control over what happens to you if you can’t make a decision at the time when one needs to be made – this may be due to an accident or an illness.

There are two different types of LPA, one that concerns your health and welfare and one that deals with property and financial affairs; you can choose to make one type or both.

You must apply for an LPA while you are mentally able; the Mental Capacity Act says if you did not appoint an Attorney whilst you were able, then only a Judge can appoint one for you. Your family or friends would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be granted attorney status, which can be a lengthy and time-consuming process at what could be an already difficult time.

Having an LPA means you can entrust your decision making to someone close to you in the event that you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself. Although people may assume that an LPA is only beneficial for those in later life, an accident or illness could result in someone no longer being capable of making important decisions for themselves. It is essential that everyone understands the benefits of planning ahead, regardless of our age or health.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss estate planning options, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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