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Lasting Power of Attorney

UK LPAs (lasting power of attorney)

Why would you require a lasting power of attorney?

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 lasting power of attorney 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 lasting power of attorney 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 a lasting power of attorney 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.

Why do you need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

With life expectancy rising, more people are suffering
from dementia and other incapacitating conditions.
One million people will have dementia in the UK by 2025,
and this is predicted to double to two million by 2051.
The need for getting an LPA in place while you are still
sound of mind has never been greater!

Having an LPA means that:

  • You are in control. You can name your attorney(s),
    ensuring that someone you trust is in control.
  • There are limitations. If you wish, your LPA can limit
    your attorney’s powers.
  • You have peace of mind. An LPA is the single best way
    to ensure you and your family’s interests are protected.

If you are mentally incapacitated, and you do not have
an LPA, then under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA)
all your finances and assets will be frozen. Additionally,
decisions relating to your health and finances will be
down to the Court of Protection to begin with.
To regain control, someone close to you will have to
apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy.
This is time consuming, expensive and will result in far
less control than if they were an attorney. Moreover,
they must reapply every year at further cost.
By contrast, arranging an LPA is a low cost option and
more straightforward.

Why use Maplebrook Services when preparing your LPA?

Maplebrook Services specialises in LPAs in addition to
Wills. This means we can provide you with professional,
practical advice that best suits your needs.

Applications for LPAs are not something that most people
should try to make themselves. There are a number of
complex options to choose from. Using an expert
means that they are explained clearly to you, ensuring
you get the LPA you need. If you get it wrong, it can be
ineffective and you could leave people with more or
less power over your best interests than you desired.

You can avoid the dangers of a DIY approach by calling
on the expertise of Maplebrook Services and we are
considerably more cost-effective than using a solicitor.
Maplebrook Services complies with the strict rules and
regulations of our industry. Alongside professional
indemnity insurance, this ensures you receive the
trustworthy, professional and confidential service you
require when writing your LPAs.

For your convenience we are happy to visit your
workplace or home to discuss your needs and collect
the necessary information to write your LPA.

The different types of LPAs available to you

There are two types of LPA: One that handles your
property and financial affairs, and another that deals
with your health and welfare. With both LPAs you can
have complete confidence and security.

Property and financial affairs LPA

This LPA grants your attorney the power to make
decisions regarding your property and finances on
your behalf, including:

  • Paying bills.
  • Managing bank accounts.
  • Collecting your pension.
  • Selling your home.

Health and welfare LPA

This LPA gives your attorney the ability to make
decisions about your welfare if you are unable to make
them yourself.

This could include decisions relating to:

  • Medical care.
  • Where you should live – For instance, moving into
    a care home.
  • Daily care such as what clothes you wear.
  • Life-sustaining treatment.

Lasting Power of Attorney: A definition

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is an essential legal
document for if you become mentally incapacitated.
It enables you to appoint one or more individuals
(known as attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf.
It is crucial to note that an LPA can only be set up while
you still have mental capacity.

Most people’s attorneys are those they trust to act in
their best interests, such as close family or friends.
Should you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place,
the people who’d care for you will face significant and
wide-ranging costs. Not only in money which could
stretch to thousands, even tens of thousands of pounds,
but also months of time going through legal processes,
the inconvenience of having assets frozen if they are
held jointly with you, and the emotional strain of seeing
important family decisions left to the courts.

Lasting Power of Attorney: A case study

When Alan turned 60, he and his wife, Sue, agreed to
apply for LPAs. With the help of their Will writer they
were made attorneys of each other, along with their
son, John.

After enjoying two years of early retirement, Alan
developed sudden onset dementia.
Because they’d had the foresight to set up an LPA,
Sue and her son John had all the legal power they
needed to take control during this incredibly difficult
time. Sue was free to make medical decisions on Alan’s
behalf and because her finances were uninterrupted,
she had the financial freedom to make Alan’s life as
comfortable as possible.

What would have happened if an LPA was not in place?
Had they not set up LPAs, Sue and John would have faced
one legal and financial obstacle after another. The bank
account she shares with Alan would have been frozen,
making it difficult to pay for supplementary healthcare.
Without an LPA, Sue would not have had the power to
make decisions regarding Alan’s health. Furthermore,
to get the legal permissions, she would have had to
pay thousands of pounds in court fees during those
challenging months.

When she was eventually made a deputy of the court,
she would have to take out a guarantee bond to protect
the assets from potential financial mismanagement –
at a cost of several hundred pounds a year and all
whilst struggling to cope with the painful decline of her
beloved husband.

LPAs

Find out more about LPAs and discuss your options with us.

LPAs

Find out more about LPAs and discuss your options with us.

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