Power of Attorney
These documents are at least as important as having a professionally written Will. Whilst we look to get our affairs in order when we die we seldom consider the consequences of what might happen should we become unable to look after ourselves, whether this is through dementia or loss of mental faculties through an accident or illness.
Who would look after your affairs – or put it another way, who has legal authority to access your finances, deal with your property when you are the only person authorised to? Chances are, no-one apart from yourself.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) documents should be viewed as an insurance policy you can take out should at some time in the future you suffer a problem leaving you unable to look after yourself. They have to be written before any problem arises though – like insurance, you can’t buy it to cover you for a problem which has already happened. It’s never too early to have these documents but it can often be too late.
Without this cover, your loved ones do not have any authority to handle your affairs and have to apply to the Court of Protection to gain legal permission. All this takes a significant amount of time and money – upwards of a year and £1,000’s to gain legal authority.
These documents allow you to appoint people you trust, such as members of your family or friends, who can step in and make decisions on your behalf. In fact, there are two Lasting Powers of Attorney documents available to you:
- One allows the people you trust (your attorneys) to make decisions relating to your finances and property when you can’t make decisions for yourself.
- The other allows your attorneys to make decisions relating to your personal welfare and even healthcare when you can’t make decisions for yourself.
These are far more flexible than the old Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) documents. Please contact Home Owners Advice to discuss how a Lasting Power of Attorney can be of benefit to you.
It is also, well worth contacting Home Owners Advice if you have an existing EPA to find out what extra benefits and security the new Lasting Powers of Attorney documents can provide to you.