Are there any disadvantages of a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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Having a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is vital for ensuring that your affairs continue to be managed. Even if you are unable to handle them for yourself.

If there comes a time where you are unable to make decisions for yourself. There is someone that can step in and ensure that all of your needs are met. They can help to ensure that your best interests are always at the forefront.

We are told that it is one of the most important plans that we can put in place. Are there any disadvantages to having a lasting power of attorney

Although you may think that making your lasting power of attorney can wait until another time. It is in fact one of the most important safety nets you can put into place early. There are disadvantages however. These are heavily outweighed by the advantages and the peace of mind it brings to not only you, but your loved ones too. 

What is a power of attorney? 

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document where you, as the Donor, appoints one or more people to act as your attorney(s). They will then be able to make decisions for you if you are unable to make these for yourself.

There are two types of power of attorneys. 

Health and Welfare

This allows your attorney(s) to make decisions regarding all of your health, medical and welfare needs.

A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney to
  • Decide where you live. 
  • Make decisions regarding your daily life such as eating and dressing. 
  • Plan your social activities. 
  • Decide what medical care you receive. 
  • Plan your end of life care. 
  • Make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment. 

Typically a health and welfare LPA will not be used until you lose mental capacity. Although it must be made whilst you still have full mental capacity. 

Finance and Property.

This allows your attorney(s) to handle all of your finances and any properties that you own.

A Finance and Property LPA allows your attorney to
  • Access your bank accounts. Including your savings. 
  • Pay your bills. Including your mortgage
  • Buy and sell investments. 
  • Arrange repairs to your properties. 
  • Buy and sell any of your properties. 

A finance and property LPA can be used before you lose mental capacity. As long as it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

For example, if you are going into hospital for a period of time. You may need your attorney to pay your bills. 

What is mental capacity? 

Having full mental capacity simply means that you can make and communicate your own decisions and that you fully understand any consequences from these decisions.

At the time of making your LPA you will need a certificate provider. Their task is to confirm that you have full mental capacity and that all of the decisions you are making are your own. 

Are there any disadvantages to having a lasting power of attorney? 

The advantages of having an LPA are well known. You are putting into place a plan which brings both you and your loved ones peace of mind.

It is cheaper than other options. Such as a family member having to go to Court once you have lost mental capacity to become a deputy.

It is a legally binding document that ensures that your wishes are met as you want them to be.

The disadvantages of an LPA are 

Giving away your personal information.

The biggest disadvantage to a lasting power of attorney is that you are giving a person or several people, most, if not all, of your personal information. Allowing them to make major decisions on your behalf.

We spend our whole lives being told to keep our personal information safe and now we are placing all of our trust in someone else. Hoping that they will do the right thing by us.

This is why it is vital when choosing your attorneys that you choose someone you know you can trust. This can be a spouse, family member or a close friend. You can also choose a professional such as your Solicitor or Accountant. 

The need for two separate LPA’s for different financial needs.

Ideally you do need both a Health and Welfare LPA and a Finance and Property LPA.

If you have just one, for example a health and welfare LPA, your attorney(s) would not be able to make any financial decisions or help you with your money and vice versa.

Having two LPA’s ensures that all aspects are covered. However, this does mean that you will have to pay two registration fees when registering your LPA’s with the Office of the Public Guardian.

You can choose to have the same attorney(s) for both or you can choose different attorneys for each LPA

The need to have full mental capacity when deciding on who your attorneys are.

Your LPA must be made whilst you still have full mental capacity.

If you try and make one after you have lost mental capacity, whether this be through an age related disease, accident or illness then this will be rejected. You must be able to make your own decisions and understand this for your LPA to be legally registered.

Should you not make an LPA. If there does come a time where you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Then a family member will need to go down the long and expensive route of applying to the Courts to become a ‘deputy.’ 

Although you may think that making your lasting power of attorney can wait until another time. It is in fact one of the most important safety nets you can put into place early. There are disadvantages however. These are heavily outweighed by the advantages and the peace of mind it brings to not only you, but your loved ones too. 

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