LPA's - Lasting Powers of Attorney, who needs them and why

Posted 8th October 2012

Written by Rob Stewart

Rob Stewart, Solicitor at Newtons, looks at LPA's and why more and more people will need them in the future.

‘Old age is a gift, which shouldn’t be taken for granted’. None of us can turn the clock back but with overall standards of health care improving, many of us can expect a long and hopefully happy old age! It is also likely that some of us will lose our faculties, for a variety of reasons, becoming unable to manage our own affairs properly. In this situation having an LPA in place could be essential and indeed a comfort for the whole family.

Without this type of planning in place we come across some quite difficult scenarios for families. The following example serves as a salutary reminder that LPAs are not just for the elderly (the following names have been changed to protect their indentities);-

John and Phillipa were travelling to the coast in their car when a wagon pulled out of a side road into the path of their vehicle. They both ended up in hospital eventually to recover but John suffered severe memory loss for many months and was unable to deal with the couple’s affairs through lack of mental capacity. Although they had both made wills they had never thought about a Lasting Power of Attorney.

John’s accounts were inaccessible to Phillipa causing great distress at an exceptionally difficult time with the worry over her husband. The Court of Protection had to take control of her husband’s assets and she had to pursue a lengthy and more expensive process to gain access to their funds and pay the outstanding bills.

Had a Lasting Power of Attorney been entered into and registered, Phillipa would have had immediate access to her husband’s bank accounts. Mental incapacity can arise through accident or illness and is not confined to an ageing population.

So what does the LPA do?

A correctly drafted LPA grants someone else (your Attorney) the authority to deal with your affairs under a carefully prescribed set of circumstances. These generally fall into two types, one which seeks to help with the management of property and financial affairs, and another that allows your chosen Attorney to make medical and welfare decisions on your behalf, again subject to a certain set of events coming to pass.

Do I need one?

A general answer is yes, everyone should have a suitable LPA in place to cover themselves against certain unexpected events that unfortunately become more probable as we all get older, such as a stroke, accident or illness. However, anyone in their forties onwards would definitely be well advised to have a look at this option to see if see if it meets their requirements going forward.

What does it cost?

A well drafted LPA does require more time input than many standard wills to prepare. It is generally dealt with on an hourly basis but individual circumstances differ and once we have initial information from you an accurate estimate can be given.

What do I have to do next?

Contact either myself or fellow solicitors Elizabeth Webb or Steve Rae; we would be delighted to talk through the options that are best for you in your particular circumstances and arrange a suitable meeting to take things further.

For more info see our LPAs РFrequently Asked Questions Article here or you can contact:-

 

This article is for general information only. No responsibility can be accepted by Newtons Solicitors for any loss suffered by anyone acting or refraining from action as a result of anything on this website. We recommend you take independent legal advice in relation to any particular personal circumstances.