Why should I make a lasting power of attorney?

by Sarah Ashcroft

As you get older, there are plenty of things to worry about and one of the primary concerns will always be your health.

You never know when you might suffer from a serious illness that affects your body or mind, so it's important to be prepared. One of the best ways you can do this is by completing a lasting power of attorney (LPA) as you approach your twilight years.

What is a LPA?

A LPA is a legal document that gives you the chance to appoint certain people - usually family members, or perhaps close friends - to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you're unable to do so.

In most cases, there are two types of lasting power of attorney that you can make:

1. Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare 

The first relates to health and welfare, and is known as a LPA HW.

With this document the individuals you appoint can made decisions on your behalf, such as whether you should be administered certain medicines or taken into a care home.

2. Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs

The second is a property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney, known as a LPA PFA.

This document gives others the right to decide what to do with your financial matters and assets. This includes their day-to-day running and any possible decisions over whether to sell or improve them.

A LPA PFA also gives someone the right to pay your bills and collect your benefits, which are crucial tasks if you're to avoid money problems.

Can I make both types?

You can opt to make one type of LPA or both, depending on your circumstances and what matters you would like to be dealt with by others should you lose your health or ability to make rational decisions.

Who can make a LPA?

Anyone can make a LPA, providing you're over the age of 18 and of sound mental capacity. There is no point in taking a risk, so making at least one appointment long before you reach old age is a wise move.

Where do I start?

Looking forward, you now need to know the steps you need to take to make a LPA:

1. Select an attorney

The first step must always be to choose your attorney, bearing in mind that you can have more than one.

Think carefully about who you would want to be in control of your financial matters and welfare in the event of you losing the ability to make these decisions.

2. Complete the LPA forms

The next step is to fill out all the relevant forms with details about yourself and your chosen attorney(s). 

Lawpack's Power of Attorney Kit includes expert advice to help you with this. 

3. Registration

The LPA forms must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The registration will take up to eight weeks.

4. Contact your attorneys

It's also worth noting that you will need to send a Notice of Intention to Register Form (included in Lawpack's Power of Attorney Kit) to everyone you wish to include as an attorney, as these people will be given three weeks to raise any issues they may have with the process.

Once everything is completed, you will be in a position to breathe easy, safe in the knowledge that your best interests will always be acted upon, no matter how your health is.

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Published on: April 13, 2014

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