Why you need a lasting power of attorney

Considering death and the possibility of serious ill-health isn't something that anybody wants to do, but it undoubtedly makes sense to spend a little time thinking through the implications of either.

While a Will is the obvious answer to any concerns you might have over what happens to your assets and wealth when you pass away, you might find matters a little more complex regarding the possibility of illness. The good news is that there is a very straightforward solution - a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

What is a LPA?

It's a legal document you sign when you're fighting fit and details exactly how you would like to be looked after should you fall ill. The sad facts are that a sizeable portion of the population will be diagnosed with varying degrees of dementia as they hit old age, meaning that they could be left unable to deal with their affairs.

If you don't want this to be you, create and sign a LPA as soon as possible.

When does it take effect?

The agreement becomes active as soon as you're deemed to be lacking sufficient mental capacity to make your own decisions. This can be the result of a condition such as dementia or an injury sustained in an accident, so you never know when it will be needed.

How do I make one?

1. Choose an Attorney

The best way to create a LPA is to first choose somebody you trust and can be sure has your best interests at heart. This might be your spouse, parent or child. You can then make this individual your attorney in the event of any unfortunate scenario.

2. Choose your LPA

Your other key decision is over which type of power of attorney to choose. There are two options: 

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA

A LPA PFA allows your chosen representative to deal with all your financial affairs. This means that they can pay bills on your behalf and choose what to do with any property you might own.

A Personal Welfare LPA

This relates to more personal matters, such as giving somebody the power to decide what medication you're given. Indeed, any type of help you might need at any point in your life, your chosen attorney will be able to adjudicate if given the right to do so.

There is no obligation to finalise both types of LPA. If you have many assets you might find the former option is the best for you, while if you're already concerned about medical or residential issues you may face in the years to come, the latter could be just what you're looking for.

It goes without saying that such scenarios are not what you want on your mind, but it's also hugely important that you can rest easy knowing that you will be cared for should you suffer illness or injury in the future. 

As such, a lasting power of attorney could be considered a must for many Britons.

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Published on: November 30, 2012

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