We live in a world where there is always something on our to-do list. Somewhere else we need to be or another job waiting for us. It can be easy to put off anything that doesn’t require our immediate attention. Thinking that it can wait until tomorrow.
Do you know what would happen if suddenly you couldn’t make your own decisions?
Who would look after you and ensure that your best interests are always kept at the forefront?
You would be forgiven for thinking that you do not need a lasting power of attorney until you are older.
It is commonly believed that it is only the older generation that needs help with their day to day lives. Unfortunately no one knows what is around the corner and having a lasting power of attorney in place can make all the difference if something were to unexpectedly happen to you.
Making a power of attorney is probably one of the best things you can do for the financial security of yourself or your loved ones.
What is a lasting power of attorney?
There are two types of lasting power of attorney and it is important to note that ideally you would need both in place.
Health and welfare
A health and welfare power of attorney allows your attorney(s) to make decisions regarding your daily lifestyle and your medical treatment.
For example, they can decide
- Where you live.
- Your daily routine. Such as dressing and eating.
- What social activities you take part in.
- What medical treatment you receive.
- Where you receive medical treatment.
- If you allow they can also make decisions regarding life sustaining treatment.
A health and welfare lasting power of attorney needs to be made whilst you still have mental capacity. It is not used until the time that you lose mental capacity.
Property and Financial
A property and financial lasting power of attorney allows your attorney(s) to handle your finances and make decisions on your behalf. Either alongside you or in your place. Unlike a health and welfare LPA this can be used as soon as it is registered.
For example, a Soldier would benefit from an LPA if they are on a deployment and need someone to handle their financial affairs until they are home.
This allows your attorney(s) to
- Access your bank accounts. Including your savings.
- Pay your bills. Including your mortgage
- Buy or sell investments.
- Arrange repairs on any properties you own.
- Buy or sell your properties.
You can also list replacement attorneys that can step in if one of your original attorneys is unable to fulfil their role.
What is mental capacity?
When someone has mental capacity, they are able to make and communicate their own decisions. They are also able to fully understand the consequences of their decisions. This is why it is important that a power of attorney is made whilst you have mental capacity.
You will need a certificate provider to confirm that you do have full mental capacity. As well as that you are not being pressured into any of the decisions that are being made.
Just because someone cannot communicate their decisions does not automatically mean that they lack mental capacity.
How long does it take to make an LPA?
Once you have completed all of the forms you will need to submit these to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
There is a registration fee of £82 that will need to be paid for each LPA.
Not only will they check your application for any errors, but this is also a time where people can raise any objections. If there are no errors or objections, then the process takes roughly 9 to 10 weeks. After this time the OPG register your LPA and return a copy to yourself for safe keeping.
At some point everyone has put off something. Waiting for a better time.
Making a power of attorney is probably one of the best things you can do for the financial security of yourself or your loved ones. Many people believe that if they suddenly lost their mental capacity tomorrow from an illness or injury. That automatically their family members would be able to step in and handle their finances and make their decisions. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. They would instead face a long legal process where the desired outcome isn’t guaranteed.