Seven reasons why you should have Lasting Powers of Attorneys (‘LPAs’) in place14 Aug 2017
- “I’m not old enough to get LPAs”
You are never too young to be at risk of needing someone to act on your behalf. Many people associate Lasting Powers of Attorneys with being elderly which is logical, but any of us at any time could be subject to an unexpected illness or accident which could leave us in a position where we are unable to manage our own affairs. Think of LPAs as an insurance policy. You have them in place and really hope you never need to use them, but should the worst happen you will have someone who is able to manage your affairs and your loved ones will be grateful that you have LPAs in place so matters can be dealt with.
- Trust who you choose instead of no one
Appointing someone as your attorney does not mean they can just go off and spend all your money and sell your house. Attorneys must always act in your best interests and they are subject to legislation and codes to make sure that this is the case. Whilst it is true there are cases and stories in the news where some attorneys have taken advantage of their position, the Office of the Public Guardian are aware of this and therefore gone are the days of getting away with these types of wrong actions. You should only appoint someone you trust absolutely wholeheartedly to be your attorney(s) to mitigate any potential abuse of power by them.
- The cost
Number three. Whilst there is a fee for registering LPAs and legal fees if you choose for a professional to assist you, the cost, if you do not, is more. If a person is unable to manage their affairs, then an individual, professional or the local authority can apply to the Court of Protection to be that person’s deputy. The legal fees involved with this application are usually much higher than drafting and registering LPAs and the court fee alone is £400 compared with a registration fee of £82.
- Your choice
When you put LPAs in place you choose who you are attorneys are and in which way or under what circumstances they can act on your behalf (providing this is not too restrictive otherwise it goes against the purposes of giving your attorney power). If you do not put LPAs in place and in the future you require someone to manage your affairs and a deputyship application is made for someone to act as your deputy it is the court that decides who is appointed as your deputy and therefore manages your affairs.
- Your choice
Continuing with the theme of choice, reason number five is particularly relevant concerning health and care matters. Some people have experienced the local authority or social services intervening with decisions about them. Where you have an attorney in place for health and care decisions, if you were unable to make a decision for yourself, the local authority would need to consult and include your health and care attorney on decisions about and concerning you.
- Plan B?
Reason number six. If you fail to put an LPA in place for property and financial affairs, individual(s) can apply to the Court of Protection as mentioned above to become your deputy and manage those aspects for you. In most cases this application may be successful if they are being made by a suitable candidate(s). Applications to become a personal welfare deputy to the Court of Protection concerning health decisions are much harder to be successful in. If you are in need of a deputy you could find yourself in a position without someone who can make health decisions on your behalf even if they make a deputyship application.
- Getting your priorities straight
Number seven. Whilst I do think it is very important to have your will in place which deals with matters on your death, sometimes people think that is where their life organisation ends. Some people are more aware of the need to have a will in place if they want to avoid their estate passing under the intestacy rules and therefore more people get round to executing wills. Your will is important, but you will not be there when it is being implemented. Not having LPAs in place affects you in your lifetime if you lose capacity.
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