Think you’re too young to get an LPA? Here are 4 reasons why they are important whatever your age
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Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) are just as important as Wills and relevant to all adults.
They allow you to appoint people you trust (attorneys) to act on your behalf if you can’t manage certain decisions and responsibilities in your lifetime. This might be because of an accident, illness, old age or even if you spend a lot of time out of the country.
"You're never too young or too old to consider an LPA as it allows you to appoint people you can depend on to make important life decisions if you aren’t able to," shares Tammie Woods, Court of Protection Manager at law firm Debenhams Ottaway.
“Anyone over the age of 18 can appoint a lasting power of attorney,” adds Senior Lawyer, Natalie Boorer. “The truth is few people know this or realise the importance of making this decision while they still can.”
In a tell-all conversation, Tammie and Natalie share their top four reasons why you should have an LPA:
1. Lasting powers of attorney are useful for both young and elderly adults
Often people mistake LPAs as something only older or vulnerable individuals can use when lacking mental capacity. However, it’s just as important for young people to consider an LPA as losing capacity can happen at any age. Another example could be if your child takes a gap year to go travelling, they could appoint you to handle their finances while they are out of the country.
It can also be useful to have one set up just in case you have an accident or fall ill. It means someone you trust can make financial decisions while you’re temporarily incapacitated.
2. You can appoint more than one attorney and determine what decisions they can make
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You might find it overwhelming to choose one person to make important decisions on your behalf. The good news is you can appoint more than one attorney so they can share the responsibility.
There are two different types of LPA, property and financial affairs and health and welfare. It is recommended that you should make both, but they do act independently of each other. This gives you the flexibility to choose appropriate, and potentially different, attorneys to manage your different affairs.
With both types of LPA, you can prevent your attorneys from making decisions about certain things. For example, you can remove the authority to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment.
If you own a company, it’s also worth considering a business lasting power of attorney. The attorneys you choose to manage your business might be different to those who manage your personal affairs. A business LPA can be useful if you are travelling overseas and need someone to resolve situations on your behalf when you’re away or if you are injured and need someone to run your company if you aren’t able to.
3. An LPA avoids an expensive and complicated application to the Court of Protection
It’s important to set up a lasting power of attorney in advance, as they take some time to be granted. You must also have the requisite mental capacity to make an LPA.
If you leave it until the last minute or until a time when you can’t make decisions, then you may not be able to set it up and will lose the freedom to choose your own attorney. Instead, the Court of Protection will appoint someone to act on your behalf, and this may be someone that you don’t know. Involving the court will be timely and expensive.
By choosing an attorney in advance, you can explain how you would like your finances and property to be handled, inform them of your healthcare choices, and make sure they will act with your best interests in mind. An LPA ensures you can still have a say in your future and maintain control over your life and assets.
It’s not pleasant to imagine a scenario where you no longer possess mental capacity, however, there are an increasing number of elderly people in the UK living with dementia. Research gathered by the Alzheimer's Society in 2019 suggests there are over 850,000 people living with dementia here and around 65,000 of these people are under the age of 65.
This is why, now more than ever, it’s important to put plans in place to help safeguard your future.
4. Setting up an LPA isn’t as complicated as you think
Sometimes people delay setting up an LPA as they believe the legal process will be complicated, time-consuming, and costly. However, working with a specialist lawyer will make it simple and easy to handle.
At Debenhams Ottaway, we have a dedicated LPA and Court of Protection team. We can talk you through the process, provide expert guidance to help you understand your options and deliver bespoke advice so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
We can make sure the forms are completed correctly and officially registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. This will guarantee your LPAs are in place whenever you may need them.
It’s impossible to know what’s around the corner, but our team can help you make the right decisions now to provide some certainty in the future.
To find out more about lasting powers of attorney, visit debenhamsottaway.co.uk or contact:
Court of Protection Manager