Property and Financial Affairs (i.e. bank accounts, investments etc)
Health and Welfare (i.e. decisions about medical treatment and care etc)
A lasting power of attorney gives another person (the attorney) legal authority to look after your affairs.
The unexpected can happen to anyone and if you became incapacitated through illness or an accident, who would you want to make decisions on your behalf? Without LPAs in place you would have no choice in the matter and your family may face up to 12 months of legal wrangling and expensive court costs to gain control of your affairs.
There are 3 different types of lasting powers of attorney:
- A property and financial affairs LPA allows another person to make decisions for you about money matters such as operating bank accounts, paying bills, investments and dealing with the buying and selling of your property
- A personal and welfare LPA allows another person to make decisions about your healthcare
- A business LPA enables your business to continue trading in the event of you losing mental capacity. If no one else has the legal authority to act on your behalf, your business may face closure
What happens if someone loses mental capacity without an LPA being in place?
Where no LPA exists and it is too late to put one in place, the family must apply to the court to appoint a ‘deputy’. This is costly and may take between 6 and 12 months to achieve. This could cause the family great expense and complications in already stressful circumstances, for example, if an elderly parent without mental capacity needs nursing care and their house must be sold to pay the fees.
We realise that most of us know we should put our affairs in order but most of us never get round to it because we’re too busy. This may create problems for our families in the future.