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Why it’s Never too Early to Arrange Lasting Powers of Attorney

Why it’s Never too Early to Arrange Lasting Powers of Attorney

If we’ve learnt one thing in this last year, it’s that our lives can change direction without warning at any time. We’ve all heard about family members stranded abroad as airports shut down, or people left without access to funds as they’re required to completely isolate, or worse, are taken into hospital. Although previously these situations were few and far between, this year many families have had to face an unexpected crisis.  

It’s not a task that anyone wants to consider, but it’s important to be prepared for if and when things do go wrong. By preparing for the worst, we’ll have peace of mind for the future. One way to do that is to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). 

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives whoever you choose – normally a trusted family member – the power to act on your behalf with regards to your finances or make decisions about your medical care or needs. The main danger is thinking that these are only relevant for elderly family members, when actually we should consider them for adults of any age.  

Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney 

There are two different LPAs, and you can choose to have either or both. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA appoints your named person, or ‘attorney’, to make decisions on your behalf if you become mentally or physically unable to manage your finances. This can vary from day to day financial activity to sorting out your utility bill and dealing with pensions.  Your named person will be able to have access to manage your bank accounts and investments, business, pension, and sell or rent out your home. 

For example: Mr A is a 26 year old man who lives alone. He becomes ill and is taken into hospital where he is placed in a medical coma. During this time his named person, his mother, is able to activate the LPA and access his bank accounts in order to manage payments on his mortgage and household bills.  

Mrs S has recently finished treatment for cancer and has been classed as highly vulnerable due to her compromised immune system. Although now mentally and physically well, she and her husband have both been in strict isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the named person on their LPA, their daughter has been able to go to the bank on their behalf to collect their pension payments for their weekly living expenses and do their food shopping on their behalf. 

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney 

A Health and Welfare LPA allows your named person to make decisions relating to your care, including doctors, hospital care (including Life Sustaining Treatment/end of life care) and residential care.  

It’s important to understand that your family do not automatically have the legal right to make medical decisions on your behalf even if you become incapacitated. An LPA would provide them with the authority to discuss and make decisions that might otherwise be made by a doctor or social worker.  

For example: Mr B has a car accident during which he suffers a serious head injury. A court rules that he is no longer mentally capable of making his own decisions. As there is no LPA in place, the court appoints the Local Authority instead, despite his family’s wishes.  

What do I need to consider when setting up my LPA? 

An LPA is a legal document that provides your named person with quite detailed powers to act on your behalf, so it’s important to get legal advice before you complete it, comments Corrine Seabourne, Chartered Legal Executive, Private Client Department.  She continues, 'Where you have a large family or perhaps children from two marriages, for example, there is potential for conflict. By naming a person in your LPA, you’ve made the decision yourself as to who should take control.'

Key things you should consider: 

  • Who you wish to appoint as your named person / attorney. 
  • Whether you wish to appoint replacement attorneys. 
  • How you wish them to act. 
  • Any preferences or instructions you wish to provide to your attorneys when managing your affairs, in particular in relation to your business. 
  • Your preference in respect of Life Sustaining Treatment. 
  • Your personal wishes in respect of end of life care. 

You can find more detailed information about a Lasting Power of Attorney on our website. If you would like to talk in more detail about your personal circumstances, we offer a free initial consultation.  

Our offices cover Leamington, Coventry, Nuneaton, and Southam.  Please contact Corrine on 01926 359355 or email her direct: corrine.seabourne@alsterskelley.com or to artange an appointment.

  

 


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

With effect from Thursday 5th November 2020

Please be assured that during the month long national lockdown, effective from Thurs 5th November, all of our offices remain open for business and staff will be available to assist from 9.00am – 5.30pm.

All existing clients can get in touch with the member of staff assisting them directly via phone or email and any new clients can get in touch via email: enquiries@alsterskelley.com or telephone any one of our offices: Leamington Spa 01926 356000, Coventry 02477 710200, Nuneaton 02477 710000 or Southam 01926 359355

If it is essential for you to visit one of our offices this must be by prior appointment only, in order to safeguard everyone.

Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you soon.

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