The problems of old age aren’t pleasant to contemplate, especially if you’re young and healthy. But sadly many people do run into problems later in life, leaving them unable to make crucial decisions for themselves.

That’s why a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is such a good idea.

What is an LPA?

An LPA is a legal document that gives one or more people – known as attorneys – the power to make decisions on your behalf. Despite what the name suggests, attorneys can be pretty much anyone you choose. Typically, they’re family members or trusted friends.

The only restriction is that an attorney cannot be bankrupt or subject to a Debt Relief Order, for obvious reasons! There are two kinds of LPA, and we recommend you have both:

• Property and financial affairs

• Health and welfare

Property and financial affairs

A property and financial affairs LPA would be useful if you have to go into hospital, for example. You might be laid up for a few days and unable to get to the bank. Or you might feel too ill to cope with financial matters. Your attorney could help by withdrawing cash from the bank and making sure your bills are paid.

Health and welfare

The second kind of LPA covers health and welfare. This could be vital to you if the unthinkable happens and you fall victim to dementia, for example. It’s surprisingly common, affecting 1 in 14 people over 65 and 1 in 6 people over 80. The symptoms of dementia are associated with a decline in the correct functioning of your brain. It can diminish your mental sharpness, affect your judgement and cause memory loss.

With an LPA in place, you’ll have the peace of mind that one of your attorneys can make critical decisions about your health and welfare if you cannot. LPAs came into effect with the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, replacing EPAs (enduring powers of attorney).

There was only one kind of EPA, covering property and financial affairs. If you have one of those, it’s a good idea to have an LPA to cover health and welfare too. This would allow your children to help care for you while you remain in your home. Most people agree that they would rather remain in their own home than be forced into a care home.

 

For more information about LPAs, contact your local Maplebrook Wills Legacy Planner.