Why do I need a Lasting power of attorney (LPA) if I already have a will?
By Maplebrook Wills
24th May '19
Why do you need both?
If you have a will, you already have one vital piece of estate planning sorted. Congratulations! But Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) are just as essential.
Why? While wills only come into effect once a person has died, LPAs are effective if someone is still alive but no longer has mental capacity.
LPAs allow you to nominate a trusted person called an attorney. They can make decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer in a position to do so.
This is vital when someone loses mental capacity. This can happen if someone has a stroke, is affected by dementia, or is left in a vegetative state by a car accident.
Other situations in which you might need someone to act for you including paying your bills if you have an extended stay in hospital. An LPA gives the attorney the authority to access your bank account and use your money.
It goes without saying that attorneys must be people you trust. That’s why people normally pick their husband, wife or children. It’s prudent to name a reserve in case an attorney predeceases you and renders the document invalid.
But what happens if someone doesn’t have an LPA? In this situation, if they lose mental capacity the bank would freeze their bank accounts – including any in joint names. Even even family members would not be able to access them at first.
Obtaining access to the accounts requires a long, drawn-out application to the Court of Protection, and this is a far more expensive process than getting an LPA in the first place.
There are two types of LPA document – one that covers financial matters and the other health. You should get both types of LPA drawn up as soon as possible, well in advance of when – or if – they might be needed.
As with other professional organisations, Maplebrook Wills must register LPAs with the Government’s Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.