Do I Need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Knowing whether or not you need to set up a lasting power of attorney (LPA) can be difficult if you don’t understand what they are, their benefits and how they could protect your future.
To help you make a decision, here’s our guide to determining if an LPA is right for you.
What is a lasting power of attorney?
A lasting power of attorney is also known as the following:
Power of Attorney
Enduring Power of Attorney
Ordinary Power of Attorney
Continuing Power of Attorney
An LPA is a legal document whereby you (the ‘donor’ or person setting up the LPA) is able to grant someone else (the ‘attorney’) the authority to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf if ever you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself.
Most people need an LPA as they get older or if they become too unwell to make their own life choices, but it must be set up while the donor is still of sound mind. This means that you must plan ahead and make an LPA while you still have full mental capacity.
There are two main types of LPAs:
The Health and Wellbeing LPA: Where the attorney has the authority to handle issues and affairs relating to your every-day life, such as your healthcare, what you eat, how you dress, and so on, depending on your circumstances. This is typically a friend or relative.
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA: Where the attorney is legally authorised to manage your finances and related affairs, such as your banking, bills, tax and pensions, on your behalf. This is typically a solicitor or relative with financial expertise.
Read more: What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Is it worth making a lasting power of attorney in the UK?
If you want to guarantee that your finances and your personal wellbeing will be taken care of when you reach a certain age or if you ever become ill, making an LPA is a must-do.
The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is a prime example of how life can suddenly change without warning, whether it’s a new, fast-acting illness or an injury that affects your mental capacity to carry out simple day-to-day tasks.
It can be easy to delay setting up a LPA because you may feel totally fit and well at the moment, but it’s imperative that you put plans in place so that you are protected in the event that you start lacking the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
The thought of being unable to manage your own affairs isn’t a pleasant one, but it’s a reality that we must prepare for.
A legally-binding LPA ensures that you maintain a good quality of life (regardless of your mental capacity) and that your best interests are always prioritised.
The benefits of a lasting power of attorney
There are many benefits to setting up a lasting power of attorney, including the following:
Your best interests will be a priority. Decisions relating to your financial affairs and wellbeing will be controlled by people that you trust (as they are chosen by you). They are also under oath to act in your best interests.
You keep an element of control. Within your LPA, you can provide guidance to the attorneys and list your preferences – for example, your preferred care homes.
It’s cheaper than the alternative options. If you don’t have an LPA in place when you lose mental capacity, an individual would need to apply to become a ‘deputy’, which is a far more expensive process.
It provides peace of mind. As soon as you set up your LPA, you get the peace of mind in knowing that your finances and your wellbeing will be handled within your best interests if you’re ever unable to make your own decisions independently.
Do I need a lasting power of attorney if I have a will?
Writing a will is highly useful – it protects your estate and ensures that all of your assets will be distributed in line with your wishes in the event of your death – but you also need to protect yourself and your finances while you’re still alive.
A lasting power of attorney is very different to a will and you should always consider having both in place. With a well-constructed LPA, you will have one or more people ready to help you make decisions if there is a time where you’re unable to do so yourself.
These attorneys will be chosen by you, while you still have sound mental capacity, and will have a legal obligation to help you make decisions (or to make them on your behalf) in your best interests.
How to make a lasting power of attorney
You should only ever set up a lasting power of attorneywith a reliable and professional legal service.
There are will-writing services online, where you simply need to register your details online to get started.
Make sure that the online company you choose has trained professionals who can offer a stress-free service and take care of everything for you, such as check the information, print the documents, send them to you for your signature (and the signatures of witnesses) and submit your LPA for official registration with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), as all of this is required by law for your will to be legally-binding.
For the company to submit your will to the OPG, there will be a filing fee of £82 per LPA, so just bear this in mind when it comes to working out the cost as some businesses fail to mention this in their pricing. You can do this yourself, but it will still cost £82 per LPA.
It is also vital to make sure that you provide correct information when completing your will and when filling in any contact forms online with your chosen will-writing company.
If you’re ready to make your LPA, get started today. If you need some more information and advice, be sure to read our related guides: