The best and only time for you to make a make a Lasting Power of Attorney is when you have the mental capacity to do so, ensuring that your wishes are carried out in the future.
In 2018, it was recorded by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that almost 750,000 people formally assigned their financial and healthcare affairs to their family and friends in the UK. This number continues to rise as a result of longer life expectancies – meaning there is a higher chance that you will lose the mental capacity to make decisions by yourself.
The legal term for this type of assignment is called making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This important document allows you to appoint one or more people as attorneys to make decisions on your behalf when you no longer can – usually as a result of old age, mental illness or an accident.
Deciding to make an LPA can be difficult, as for some it can be an acknowledgement that they will lose mental capacity at a point, however for others, it brings a sense of relief, knowing that their affairs will be handled by someone they trust. Essentially, the best time, in fact, the only time to make an LPA is when you have the capacity to make one. At Romain Coleman, we can’t advocate enough the importance of giving this process some consideration, particularly if you have been diagnosed with a degenerative mental illness.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney that you can choose from:
As experienced solicitors with your best interests at heart, we recommended that you make both LPAs at the same time.
To make a Lasting Power of Attorney you need to be over 18 years of age and have the right mental capacity to do so, which means that you have the ability to process information and understand the effects of this legal document. Given that anything can happen in the future, making an LPA right now can offer you some peace of mind, knowing that your trusted attorneys will make decisions for you if you cannot.
It is important to note that an LPA is different to a will, as an LPA protects your interests while you are still alive, and a will outlines how you want your estate to be shared after you die.
Although you can make an LPA yourself by completing and signing a form, we recommend employing the services of our experienced team. We will assist you with understanding the complex legal jargon and ensure that the document is error-free – even the smallest mistake can result in an invalid LPA, and a lot of stress and turmoil for your loved ones down the line.
This post further outlines the costly mistakes you can make by writing your own LPA – “What can go wrong if I write my own Lasting Power of Attorney?”
If you do not make your LPA while you still have the capacity, your next of kin will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order to be your deputy – a person who will make decisions on your behalf in terms of your property, financial and personal affairs.
Unless you have specifically discussed your wishes regarding your affairs with your next of kin, they will not know what you want. For a loved one, applying to be your deputy can be a lengthy, expensive and often emotionally exhausting process which can be avoided completely by making an LPA ahead of time. In the time before a Deputyship Order is granted, no one is able to make decisions on your behalf, so it is imperative to have one in place.
With the dedicated support and guidance of our elderly care solicitors, we can help you streamline the LPA making process; ensuring that all of your wishes are protected and the document can be administered without any issues.
As this legal document can have such a large impact on your life and the life of your loved ones, do not put off making it any longer and allow our solicitors to help you make yours today. Contact our experienced team on 0208 520 4555 or via our Contact Form.
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This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.