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Lasting Powers of Attorney

The Pros and Cons of a Lasting Power of Attorney

10th August 2021

If there ever comes a time where you’re unable to make decisions for yourself due to dementia for example, having a Lasting Power of Attorney will ensure crucial decisions are made on your behalf. By ensuring somebody is designated to make decisions for you, your wishes can continue to be met for the rest of your life, regardless of your mental or physical capacity. 

However, leaving the power of decision-making to somebody else can be daunting. You might be worried about the potential disadvantages of giving someone that level of control over your wellbeing.

Today we will take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of setting-up a Lasting Power of Attorney and how you can ensure your affairs are kept in order. 

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

A Lasting Powers of Attorney is a legal document in which you appoint one or more people to make decisions for you if you become mentally incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions in the future. 

These decisions fall into two categories, and as such, there are two separate types ofLasting Power of Attorney (LPA). A Health and Welfare LPA grants your Attorney the right to make decisions regarding your medical care. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows an attorney to make decisions regarding your finances and property.

Each of the LPA’s is a separate document. To make it simpler to understand below is a list of the common types of decisions attorneys can make on your behalf under each of the specific LPA’s.

A Finance and Property LPA allows your Attorney to: 

  • Access your bank accounts and saving accounts 
  • Pay your bills and mortgage payments
  • Buy and sell investments
  • Arrange property repairs
  • Sell and buy pieces of property 

A Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorney to: 

  • Decide on your living arrangements in case you require care
  • Plan your social activities 
  • Decide what kinds of medical care and treatments you’ll receive
  • Plan your end of life care if you have an Advanced Directive (also called a Living Will) if it is attached to your LPA
  • Make decisions regarding life-support treatments 

When Should I Get an LPA?

An LPA isn’t only beneficial once you’ve lost mental capacity. If you register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian, your LPA can be used at any time. 

Think about this scenario: If you know you’ll be entering the hospital for a prolonged time for surgery, you can set an LPA to pay your bills or, should complications arise, your Attorneys can make decisions for you regarding your medical care.   However, we advise that you apply for it in advance because the process for obtaining one is long.

What Are The Potential Negatives? 

An LPA is a legally binding document, which can be intimidating for many to consider. 

First, when your Attorney needs to start acting on your behalf you’ll have to share all of your personal information with them. 

The person you appoint must be a person you trust as your attorney. Your attorney can be a family member or loved one, but it could also be a personal accountant or solicitor. Regardless of whom you choose, you’ll need to be comfortable with sharing significant amounts of information with that person. 

Secondly, if you want your LPA to grant your attorney the right to make both medical and financial decisions on your behalf, you’ll need two separate LPAs.   This means that you’ll need to pay two separate registration fees with the Office of the Public Guardian. 

Finally, an LPA must be made while you have mental capacity. The process is more difficult and protracted if you lose capacity.  

What Happens if you Lose capacity before you make a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

If you lose capacity before having an LPA in place, your loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection for them to be your Deputy.  This will enable them to manage your financial affairs.  The procedure is time consuming, cumbersome and expensive.  

Despite any of the above disadvantages, the advantages far outweigh the negatives. 

The Advantages To An LPA

Having an LPA gives you peace of mind, it means you know there is someone you trust making decisions on your behalf and in your best interests.  You’ll also have the ability to choose who handles whatever situation arises. 

Finally, an LPA prepares you for an uncertain future.  We don’t like thinking about what could happen to us, but accidents or serious illness can happen at any time while the COVID pandemic has taught us that tragedy could be just around the corner. 

Need an LPA? 

We know that thinking about the future can be stressful. We believe that everyone should be treated with respect, kindness and receive a personal service that meets their needs in a relaxed, un-rushed environment. 

Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors is here to help you prepare for the future and ensure your wishes are followed, which is why our expert legal team specialises in Lasting Power of Attorney, Wills, Probate and Conveyancing

Don’t wait for life to happen – Get in touch today to learn more about our LPA services and gain the peace of mind that your future is taken care of.