25/05/2018 by Choice Wills 0 Comments
Why a Lasting Power of Attorney is not just for the elderly
Most people understand the need to write a Will. Few people know why they should also consider a Lasting Power of Attorney. In this blog, we will look at why a Lasting Power of Attorney is important, whatever your age.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society thereare 850,000 people in the UK with dementia and it is estimated that this figure will rise to over 1 million people by 2025.
So, what is Lasting Power of Attorney and why do you need it?
Lasting Power of Attorney
Implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 saw the introduction of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) on 1st October 2007. They replaced *Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) although it’s worth considering that EPA’s only dealt with finances, they did not deal with health and welfare issues.
There are two types of LPA’s, one relates to Property and Financial affairs the other to your Personal Welfare. They are legal documents which allow a person (the Donor) to appoint another person (the Attorney) to make decisions that they can no longer make because they have lost the mental capacity to do so.
Usually, if you are married or in a Civil Partnership you would appoint your spouse or civil partner as your Attorney and vice versa. You might then appoint others, your children perhaps if they were over the age of 18, as your reserve Attorneys.
If you do not appoint an Attorney before you lose your mental capacity, it might be necessary for your spouse or another member of your family to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. A deputy’s powers are very limited when compared to someone who has full Power of Attorney.
Occasionally, an application may be rejected by the Court of Protection. If this happens, it is likely that the courts will appoint the local authority (usually your local council) to make decisions on your behalf instead.
Why do you need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Lasting Power of Attorney are important legal documents. Without them, your family would find it almost impossible to deal with your affairs, if you lost the ability to make your own decisions. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney:
- The courts would control who is appointed as your deputy
- You cannot decide what scope of power is granted to your deputy
- If a deputy’s application is refused, decisions will be made on your behalf by strangers from your local authority
- Your family will need to pay to apply and maintain a deputy appointment
- Jointly held assets cannot be sold until the courts appoints a deputy. This could potentially lead to financial hardship for your spouse
Why Lasting Power of Attorney are not just for the Elderly
It’s not just the elderly thatlose Mental Capacity. The Alzheimer’s Society estimate that in the UK, around 42,000 people aged under the age of 65 suffer from dementia.
Younger people can also lose mental capacity through accident or illness.
The role of an Attorney in administering a property and financial affairs LPA is to make decisions on your behalf on things like, paying your bills, buying or selling a property, controlling your bank account or how your money is invested.
The role of an Attorney in administering a personal welfare LPA is to make decisions on where you should live, what medical treatment you will receive, what contact you would have with people and what you should eat and drink.
Your Attorney(s) should be people that you trust. They must be aged over 18 and not bankrupt. They should be willing to take on what is a very important role.
We hope this article has been informative. If you have any further questions about Lasting Power of Attorney, contact us here. We are always happy to help.
*EPA’s remain legally valid if you arranged one before 1st October 2007 however an EPA will only deal with financial matters and not health matters.