Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is used in cases where you lack the mental capacity to act independently, due to factors such as illness, an accident or the onset of conditions like dementia.
You can only create your LPA whilst you are still mentally capable of making your own decisions. By planning ahead and making an LPA, you are able to give your instructions whilst you are of sound mind, in anticipation of possibly not being able to do so in the future.
Why you might need a lasting power of attorney
It is unpleasant to think that you may ever lose the ability to manage your own affairs. However, by creating both a 'lasting power of attorney for health and welfare' (LPA-HW) and a 'lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs' (LPA-PA) you can ensure that if this ever happens, your financial affairs and personal welfare will be looked after by someone you trust.
If there is no lasting power of attorney
There are occasions when the lack of a lasting power of attorney (LPA) can cause problems that could have been easily avoided. For example, you may have had a stroke and been advised that you can't return home to live on your own any more. A nursing home may have been suggested as the best solution. Unfortunately, your family will have great difficulty in selling your house if you are unable to give the necessary instructions for sale and eventually sign the contract. If an LPA-PA exists, then the attorney can sign on your behalf, thus ensuring that these issues are dealt with promptly.
If you become mentally incapable and have not appointed an attorney, your finances may be frozen until the Court of Protection appoints a deputy. A deputy is someone appointed by the Court of Protection with ongoing legal authority as prescribed by the Court of Protection to make decisions on behalf of the person who lacks capacity.
The appointment of a deputy may take some time and in the meantime, your bills might not be paid and your affairs may not be looked after. In addition, there are official fees to be paid that exceed the fees that would be paid to register an LPA.