Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s) are often overlooked as tomorrow’s problem, which is understandable as they may never be required. Just like an insurance policy, you’d hope you never need to use it but what if the worst happens and you do?
If you’ve got any doubts about having an LPA set up, here are 5 Common Misconceptions about LPA’s that might change your mind.
1 – LPA’s are for the Elderly
Capacity can be lost at any stage of your life, for example a car accident or a stroke can leave you unconscious or unable to manage your affairs. Life is never certain so it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible.
2 – Once an LPA has Been Made You Can’t Make Decisions Yourself
Once an LPA is registered you are still free to manage your affairs yourself. Your attorneys will need the original document (or certified copy) to starting acting on your behalf. The original document is best held with your Solicitor and will only be released if you lose capacity or when you consent for it to be released. This prevents attorneys acting on your behalf without your knowledge.
N.B. Please let us know if you have any concerns about your attorneys acting dishonestly or without your knowledge.
3 – My Family Will be Able to Look After Me if I Lose Capacity
No matter how close your support network is, it is unlikely that anyone will have the necessary legal authority to manage your affairs without having an LPA in place. Your family may be able to help with the little things but financial institutions will not deal with them unless they can produce a registered LPA document.
This uncertainty can cause upset within the family and can make an already stressful time even worse. To add to this, if you lose capacity suddenly, your family may not know your wishes if you didn’t get a chance to discuss them or record them in your LPA.
4 – My Executors in My Will Can Help Me if I Need Help
Your Will deals with your affairs after your death and not before. By appointing an attorney, you are choosing somebody to assist you during your lifetime as and when you need it. Your attorney can be the same as your Executors but they must be appointed by way of an LPA.
5 – I Can Leave an LPA Until I Need One
Preparing an LPA at any stage in your life is sensible, however, leaving it until you need one is often too late. You will be unable to have an LPA prepared if you lack the capacity to understand the nature of the document or give clear instructions. If it is unclear whether you can provide instructions, a doctors report may be required which can lead to further uncertainty.
If you find yourself in this situation, your only remedy for assistance could be through a Deputyship Order with the Courts. This can be both time consuming and expensive.
If you’d like to discuss the preparation of an LPA, a member of our Private Client team would gladly meet with you for a half-hour, free consultation to provide you with some detailed guidance and offer you a no-obligation cost estimate.
Exeter 01392 285000 Cullompton 01884 33818 Newton Abbot 01626 330127