I often find that the importance of preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) is not lost on people, but the urgency certainly is. Most people think that preparing their Will is more important. Some even think it is a case of either making their Wills or preparing LPAs.
The fact of the matter is that it is not a choice
LPAs are just as important as Wills as they come into effect at different stages. If anything, were you to die without a Will, your money may still end up where you would like it to. But if you were to lose the capacity to manage your affairs, the ‘default’ position rarely has a happy ending.
What would you do if you lost the capacity to manage your own affairs and didn’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place? If this did, unfortunately, occur, ‘somebody’ would have to apply to the Court of Protection to gain the authority to act on your behalf. As you would not have the capacity to make any decisions for yourself, you will not have a say in who that ‘somebody’ is. If you have a large family that don’t or can’t agree amongst themselves, this could aggravate any family tension. It could also result in ‘somebody’ acting on your behalf who you may have objected to.
Even if there is agreement, the process is far from straightforward. There are numerous forms, medical assessments, witness statements and the inevitable ….fees – both, Court fees, and almost certainly Solicitor’s fees. This is what your family will have to go through before they can be in a position to help you.
You see, preparing LPAs isn’t just about helping you out, it’s just as much about helping your family out so that they can be prepared to assist you at a time its needed most.
Most of us will know of an elderly person who suffered a stroke or developed dementia rapidly and lost the ability to look after themselves and manage their money. In these cases, it would be too late for that person to put an LPA in place as at the time they needed it, they were sadly not capable of signing the paperwork.
Do you know of families that found themselves struggling to sort everything out? Without access to the bank accounts, how were they able to arrange the right level of care for that person?
The process of preparing an LPA is simple
Once the forms are signed, they are sent to the Office of Public Guardian for registration and usually returned in around 8 weeks ready to use. With free home visits and the option of evening or weekend appointments, the process couldn’t be simpler.
For more information, call me on 0116 250 5747 for an informal chat.