Why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

June 1, 2023
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Why we all need a Lasting Power of Attorney and the facts you should know about this important and powerful document.

My uncle was a strong, independent, charming man who played tennis well into his eighties. He was a bachelor; always popular and sociable but private too. We thought he would be our supportive Uncle Richard forever, who came for lunch every Sunday and listened to our stories. But then he wasn’t. He started needing help physically and then mentally. When he started receiving alarming financial letters, we realised Uncle Richard needed more help managing his affairs. However, there was a problem. He had no Lasting Power of Attorney in place… After many expensive and frustrating months going through the Court of Protection, my parents were finally awarded a Deputyship Order so they could legally manage Uncle Richard’s affairs. During a stressful and emotional time, this painful process greatly added to the heartache.  

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you, the donor, appoint one or more people, known as attorneys, to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf, when you no longer have the mental capacity to do so. An LPA allows your chosen, trusted loved ones to look after you – your financial affairs and your care.  

There are two types: 

Property & Financial Affairs – allows your attorney(s) to manage all your bank accounts, bills, investments and property.  

Health & Welfare – allows your attorney(s) to make decisions about your health and care. 

You can also set up a Lasting Power of Attorney for your business if you wish.    

So why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you are over 18, no one can legally manage your financial affairs, which are in your sole name, without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place – not even your parents or your spouse. Even joint accounts can be severely restricted if there is no LPA in place.  

A random accident, or life-limiting diseases such as dementia, Parkinsons or strokes, can make it impossible to look after your own affairs. It is so important to decide who will shoulder this responsibility for you whilst you are well. With a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, you decide who controls your future.  

Without an LPA in place, if something happens to you and you no longer have your mental capacity, your loved ones will need to apply for a Deputyship from the Court of Protection which is a long, expensive and stressful process.  

How do I create a Lasting Power of Attorney?

It is a simple process which you can do yourself or ask a trusted professional advisor to help. You need to: 

* Have full mental capacity and be over 18. 
* Choose one or more people you can totally trust – your attorneys. 
* Fill in the LPA forms online or in paper form. Your attorneys will need to sign, as well as the witnesses.  
* Notify relevant people (not always necessary) 
* Officially register your LPA with the Office of Public Guardian (which may take up to 20 weeks) before you can use it.  

You can find all the information on the UK government website.

How much does it cost to register an LPA?

The typical costs are £82 (£164 for financial and health). You may be entitled to an exemption or reduction.  

And if a solicitor helps, there will be some additional legal costs.  

To conclude…

Over 75% of adults over 55 years old have not registered an LPA in the UK. Perhaps this is due to optimism or apathy. Or maybe we need to raise awareness of this powerful document and encourage as many people as possible to protect their future, for themselves and their family.  

My parents put LPAs in place immediately after they went through the sad experience with my uncle. Thank goodness, for now my wonderful dad has advanced dementia, so my sister and I are his attorneys. It is a big responsibility but at least we know we are acting as our father would have wished.   

We now use Auderli to organise and share all my father’s important information and key documents. Having everything organised in one safe, space saves me lots of time, reduces the burden enormously and gives me peace of mind. It’s also easy to securely share information with my father’s financial advisor through Auderli.  

If you don’t have an LPA in place yet, put it to the top of your list. And find out more about how Auderli can help you master the art of important life organisation.

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