Why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A lasting power of attorney is something that we should probably all have in place.   It is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so yourself.

What happens if I don’t create a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you lose mental capacity, through illness or injury, that means that you won’t be able to make decisions for yourself about your money and assets or about your healthcare choices.  For those of us that have set one up, the people we nominate will be able to make decisions on our behalf in our best interests.

If you don’t have an LPA and become unable to make your own decisions, things can become very complicated for your loved ones.  Someone who cares for you will have to apply for a court order from the Court of Protection in order to manage your affairs.   This can take a very long time to set up, years rather than months, which is especially problematic when decisions often need to be made quickly.   In addition, it is very expensive and time-consuming, annual accounts will need to be submitted and for any major decision this will need to go via the court.

With an LPA, you can simplify the process and avoid any problems for your loved ones.

The BBC One Show video below shows how hard things became for Heather Bateman managing her husband’s affairs.

Who should be my Lasting Power of Attorney?

The people you choose to be your LPA should be someone trustworthy and capable.  Often people choose a spouse, close family member, or friend.  Someone younger may be appropriate.  Do talk to the person you want to appoint as your attorney before you make the m an LPA.

Can’t I just rely on my next of kin to make decisions for me?

Being someone’s next of kin does not legally entitle you to make health or financial decisions on their behalf.

What decisions does an LPA cover?

LPAs are powerful legal documents.  It is important that you think carefully and seek advice about what powers you grant and to whom.

  • You can choose to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you.  This would include managing your bank account, paying bills, selling your home, etc.
  • You can also give an attorney the power to make decisions about your health and welfare.  This would include things like your medical care, your daily routine (eg washing, dressing, eating), moving into a care home, etc.

What happens if there is no health and welfare power of attorney in place?

If you have not given someone authority to make health and welfare decisions under a lasting power of attorney, then decisions about your health, care, and living arrangements will be made by your care professional, the doctor, or the social worker who is in charge of your treatment or care.

Power of attorneyHow do I make an LPA?

You can set up an LPA yourself, to find out more visit the Office of the Public Guardian website.  However, it can be very complicated to get right and you might find it easier to ask for professional help – a few are listed below. 
The cost of preparing the documents is less than you might think.
For help to set up your Lasting PoA, there are 3 reputable local providers that we can suggest:
Whenever a new client starts with Gardiner’s, we email the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to check what Powers of Attorney (PoA) are registered.  If the OPG reply to say there is no match we contact the client, or their relatives to check the PoA situation.For those that don’t have a Lasting PoA in place, we encourage them to watch this video – https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2023/03/martin-lewis-power-of-attorney/Also worth reading is the ‘Which?’ guide to PoA.

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