Dispelling the myths: Lasting Powers of Attorney

Dispelling the myths: Lasting Powers of Attorney

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Whilst most people are aware that at some point they will need to consider writing a Will, there tends to be less public awareness surrounding the need to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). 

Here are some common myths we hear about assigning a Lasting Power of Attorney, and why we advise our clients to consider creating an LPA no matter their age or current circumstances.

 

Myth: “I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney unless I’m elderly or have been diagnosed with dementia”

In fact, the only requirement for setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney is that you are over the age of 18 and have the mental capacity to make your own decisions. We advise that everyone should consider setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney to protect you and your loved ones from added expenses and stress, should your circumstances change.

It is not recommended to leave setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney until any sort of diagnosis is made, for the following reasons:

1. A Lasting Power of Attorney not only protects those living with dementia or age-related mental decline, but also those who may unexpectedly face living with a medical condition, such as a serious stroke, brain injury or tumour, or physical impairment, whereby you would require or like someone to assist with day-to-day financial management.

 

2. It is not possible to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, unless you have capacity to give clear instructions and understand what you are doing. In circumstances where you may experience a sudden loss of mental capacity, it may be too late, if the LPA is not in place.. Whilst no one wants to assume the worst will happen, it is responsible to acknowledge that life can change quickly.

 

3. If you are taken ill, you’ll likely have a lot on your plate – setting a Lasting Power of Attorney in advance means you can avoid having to worry about this in what may already be difficult or overwhelming circumstances.

 

Myth: “I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney because my next of kin can sort things out for me if I can no longer do it” 

This isn’t the case. No one person can act on your behalf unless they are legally authorised to do so.

If you don’t appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney before you lose mental capabilities, then your family and friends will have to make an appeal to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a Deputy. This process is often expensive and long-winded and can be distressing in what may already be a difficult time for yourselves and your loved ones.

Additionally, whilst the Court of Protection will do what they believe you would have wanted when appointing your Deputy, there is no guarantee that they will appoint the person you would have chosen to fulfil this role. It is also more  restrictive and has ongoing annual costs and account requirements.

 

Myth: “I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney if I have written a Will”

In fact, a Lasting Power of Attorney serves a completely different function to a Will. Whilst a Will relates to the distribution of your estate and assets following your death, a Lasting Power of Attorney relates to the management of your affairs during your lifetime. They should not be considered an either/or. It is also worth noting that whoever you select as your Lasting Power of Attorney has no authority to change or amend your will.

 

If you’re planning for the future, setting up an LPA should be a crucial part of your plan. As well as bringing you peace of mind, they remove the stress and panic from your loved ones, should your circumstances change, and they ensure that those you trust are the ones making decisions for your future.

 

If you’d like further advice and professional guidance on getting started setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills and various other end-of-life arrangements, get in touch with our team here.

 

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