Why is Lasting Power of Attorneys So Important?

Feb 25, 2022 | Article

Why is Lasting Power of Attorneys So Important?

While every adult in the UK has the right to manage and take care of their own affairs, sometimes, illness, disability, or an accident can mean that the choice is taken away from you. We need to look no further than the last couple of years and the COVID-19 pandemic, to see just how unpredictable life can be.

However, by putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, or LPA, you can ensure that the right people are able to make important decisions about your health and finances, in the event that you are unable to.

Why is a Lasting Power of Attorney so important?

Many people make the inaccurate assumption that a person’s next of kin will have the right to make decisions on their behalf if they lose the ability to do so for themselves, but the reality is, that this simply isn’t true. In the absence of an LPA, a person’s loved ones must apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputy Order, and then wait to see who the court decides to appoint to manage your affairs. This process is often a lengthy one, and can be costly, too; something that most people won’t welcome, particularly at such a potentially stressful and emotional time.

With this in mind, it makes sense to put an LPA in place now, so that should the time arise when you’re unable to manage your own affairs, the people you want to be able to help you, can do so quickly, and with minimum fuss.

Important factors to consider when thinking about an LPA

There are a few things to keep in mind when considering putting an LPA in place, and we’ve highlighted some of the most important:

  • Choosing the right attorney

You need to be able to trust your chosen attorney implicitly, and you may choose a friend or family member, provided they are over the age of 18. In the absence of a suitable attorney, you can opt for a professional one, such as a solicitor. Be sure to discuss the responsibilities with your chosen attorney in detail, so that they understand their obligations and are happy with them.

  • Putting a series of safeguards in place

Imagining that an attorney might abuse their power, isn’t a comforting thought, but sadly, it can and does, happen. Fortunately, there are some legal safeguards to help prevent this from happening.

 

When making your LPA, someone called a ‘certificate provider’ must sign the document to confirm that you haven’t been put under pressure to create an LPA by someone and that you have made it entirely of your own free will. Additionally, you are able to name people in your LPA who must be notified before the LPA is registered with the Office of Public Guardian (OPG).

Why should you use a solicitor to draw up an LPA?

It’s important to understand that once an LPA has been drawn up and registered with the OPG, it cannot be amended, even if it contains errors. If you’ve made a mistake with your LPA, you’ll be forced to draw up and register a whole new LPA, which is both time-consuming and expensive. With the help and guidance of an expert such as a solicitor, on the other hand, you can make sure your LPA is correct the first time.

If you’re considering creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, there’s no better time to do it than the present. Reach out to a local solicitor today, to further discuss your options and get the peace of mind that a quality LPA can afford you.

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