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The importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney
- AuthorBeth Worthy
Does your next of kin have an automatic right to make decisions regarding your finances and health if you lose mental capacity? The answer is NO.
In order to give someone the legal authority to manage your financial affairs and to make medical decisions if you lose capacity, you need registered Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
A LPA for financial affairs appoints an Attorney to help you manage bank accounts, investments and property etc. While you have capacity the LPA must only be used with your consent. It can make your life a little bit easier or if you are struggling to manage your finances. If someone is using your bank card or assisting with your banking and investments, they should have legal authority to do so. Without an LPA in place, you could be at risk.
If you make a financial LPA, you are not relinquishing control of your assets. You retain control of your assets because you know exactly who will be looking after matters for you and you have the comfort of knowing they will act in your best interests.
If you do not have the LPA in place and you lose mental capacity, access to bank accounts and investments may cease. Even joint assets can become problematic as the assets are held jointly on the condition both owners consent to the other having access. If you do not have capacity, you cannot consent to the other owner having access to the jointly owned assets.
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used if you have lost mental capacity. This can be a permanent loss of capacity or temporary. The LPA allows your Attorneys to make decisions regarding your medical treatment and care. You may have strong feelings about what treatment you do or do not wish to have, and an LPA allows your Attorneys to carry out these wishes at a time you cannot express them yourself.
You should give careful consideration when deciding who you would like to appoint as your Attorneys. Attorneys should be people you trust and that you feel will act in your best interests.
If you lose capacity and do not have LPAs, things can become extremely challenging for you and your loved ones. Your friends, family members or occasionally Social Services may need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. You can obtain a Deputyship Order for both financial decisions and health and welfare, although the latter is more difficult to obtain. As a Deputy is Court appointed, the rules and regulations are very strict to ensure that you are protected and the timescale to obtain the order is longer, cost are higher and the stress to your loved ones can be significant.
TALK TO AN EXPERT – Come along to our free to attend event to ask questions about Lasting Powers of Attorney, includes complementary refreshments
Bethany and Aaron are hosting Q&A sessions all about Lasting Powers of Attorney in Pickering which you are invited to come along to ask any questions before booking an appointment.
The sessions will take place on Tuesday 19 March 2024 at The Black Swam Coaching Inn, Pickering. You can attend one of three sessions to suit your diary – 1.30pm -3pm, 3.30pm -5pm or 5.30pm -7pm.
To reserve your place, please contact Sarah Edwards on either 01904 624185 or firstname.lastname@example.org