Lasting Powers of Attorney
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Separate to your Will, an LPA is a legal document that is completed and then registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. It is triggered when you are still alive and enables your nominated, trusted Attorney(s) (eg spouse, close relative or friend) to look after your affairs or make decisions on your behalf if you are ever mentally incapacitated through accident or illness.
There are 2 types of Powers of Attorney:
Health and Welfare
Property and Financial
This means there is some flexibility and you could have different people helping with different decisions.
An accident, hospitalisation, unforeseen illness, stroke, fall or dementia for example could leave you deemed incapable of making important financial or welfare decisions in the eyes of the law so it is important that you take time while you are fit and well to make arrangements and register a trusted person/s to step in when you need it most.
Many feel that LPAs are even more important than Wills.
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After all if you die then you’re gone, but if you lose your faculties through an accident, a stroke or dementia (1 in 3 people develop this), don’t assume relatives can walk into the bank and access your money – not even if it’s just to pay for your care.
You can choose for it only to come into effect when you’re no longer capable. I’ve got one and I’m 45.
Said one of the UK's leading financial experts
Health & Welfare LPAs
Your Health and Welfare agreement will enable your chosen Attorney to have ultimate control over important care decisions.
Many people don’t realise this legislation until it is too late. We have heard tragic stories of families being split up because in the absence of Health and Welfare LPAs, Social Services have taken control against close families wishes and relocated helpless elderly residents to cheaper areas for their care!
Property & Financial Affairs LPAs
Did you know that legally, if a bank account holder was to lose capacity, banks can decide to temporarily restrict the use of the account until a deputy has been appointed through the courts? This even applies to joint bank accounts and married couples - so spouses are not automatically entitled to access their partners funds, even if held in joint accounts.
How would your family cope if you had an accident or sudden illness and then they couldn’t access the primary family funds?
There is a well-publicised case of Heather Bateman who's life was made miserable by the regulations surrounding her access to her husband's accounts when he was knocked down and put into a coma.
She had bills to pay, including her children to fund through university, but she had a living nightmare having to make formal court applications for money because her husband's bank accounts were frozen without warning when the bank realised he was mentally incapacitated.
Registering a Power of Attorney could save this administrative turmoil at such a trying time.
Self Employed & Business Owners
If you run a business, particularly if you are self employed, you should consider what would happen if you have an accident or sudden illness and were unable to work.
With an LPA you can nominate a trusted individual to seamlessly take over your business, either to continue trading or to wind up your affairs and close bank accounts on your behalf.
Making LPAs easy for you
Although the likelihood of serious illness increases with age, you can arrange your Powers of Attorney from any age, so many consider this important protection when making their Will.
Many find the lengthy paperwork overwhelming without our help, but once we have a few simple details, we can complete your LPA application for you, ready for signatures. We help and guide you every step of the way, checking the documents before submitting them for registration on your behalf and can even act as your witnesses.
Once registered, LPAs can last your lifetime and can be easily updated if your contact details or preferred Attorney(s) change.
We are pleased to confirm that the long awaited LPA reform measures are being introduced next year, now The Powers of Attorney Act 2023 has received Royal Assent.
This should streamline applications which could be processed entirely online in the future, and might eventually take as little as 8 weeks to process, although paper versions will continue to be available. The central processing Office, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) in Birmingham, hope that the new system will also help resolve problems and errors quickly. The Powers of Attorney Act 2023 also includes measures to better protect against fraud and abuse, including identity checks by the OPG.
We are able to help with any questions so please contact us for advice and support with this essential protection for you during your lifetime.