Lasting Powers of Attorney
Whilst we know about the importance of wills, very few people think about what would happen if, during their lifetime, they were ill and not able to manage their financial affairs or make decisions about their health. Certainly, when it comes to managing your financial affairs, if you are not able to speak personally to banks, utility companies – indeed any organisation that holds details about you, then your financial life could come grinding to a halt. Even if you are married or in a Civil Partnership, your spouse or partner has no right to discuss your personal finances without your permission. Worse still, they could be left vulnerable and possibly without money themselves. A costly and lengthy process would then ensue, so that your loved ones could step in and help.
In order to avoid this, it is vital that you consider setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, commonly called an LPA. An LPA is a legal document that allows you to choose someone now (or more than one person) (the Attorney) that you trust to make decisions on your behalf about things such as your property and financial affairs or health welfare, at a time in the future when you no longer wish to or may lack the mental capacity to make those decisions.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
- A property and financial affairs LPA is for decisions about finances, such as selling the Donor’s house or managing their bank account; and
- A health and welfare LPA is for decisions about both health and personal welfare, such as where to live, day-to-day care or having medical treatment.
Setting these documents up now and then putting them aside until they might be needed gives you and your family peace of mind that, should a disaster occur or difficult decisions need to be made regarding your health, then the right people have been appointed by you to act on your behalf and with your best interests at heart.
Jack and Christine are married and, like many couples, have joint and individual accounts. Jack has a private pension that is managed by their Financial Adviser. One afternoon, Jack had a nasty accident, falling off a stage and causing considerable damage to his leg. He was hospitalised and required surgery, which meant that he was not around or indeed capable of dealing with his personal financial affairs. Just at that time, his financial adviser needed some urgent instructions with regard to an investment within his pension fund. There was a deadline that needed to be met. Luckily, Christine had been appointed as Jack’s Attorney, and was able to give the adviser the vital instructions.
Click here to arrange a convenient time to talk about setting up your Lasting Power of Attorney