• Andrea Mapstone

5 Myths about Lasting Power of Attorneys

People will often put off making their LPAs for lots of different reasons, some people may even make the conscious decision not to make LPAs at all. Often it will be the financial costs which put people off but others may be making the decisions not to make LPAs because they aren’t exposed to the right information. We look at the top five myths surrounding Lasting Powers of Attorney.

1. Your next of kin will be able to sort things out for you if you can no longer do it

If you lose the capacity to be able to manage your house, finances or make your own decisions about your care, someone will need to take on this responsibility for you. You may want this person to be your spouse, a child or another loved one, however, no one has the automatic right to deal with these matters for you. If you have not provided instructions in an LPA on who should act as your attorney (the person you would like to manage things for you if you can no longer do things yourself), someone will have to apply for this power via a deputyship order from Court of Protection. This is a notoriously long and expensive process and there is no guarantee that the court will appoint the person you would have wanted. Often the Court of Protection will decide to appoint a professional to act for you who will be able to take funds directly from your assets to pay their fees.

2. You can just make an LPA, if, or when, you need it

In order to make an LPA you must have the required mental capacity. Often the onset of an illness like dementia can trigger the need for someone to step in and deal with their affairs but at this point it could be too late for them to make an LPA. In these cases, the only option may be to apply for a deputyship order from the Court of Protection.

3. It’s only worthwhile getting a Property and Financial LPA

There are two types of LPA, one which covers decisions about Property and Finance and the other which covers decisions relating to your health and wellbeing. It is not possible to combine the two LPAs or add instructions in your Property and Finance LPA to allow your attorney to make decisions about your Health and Welfare. Having a Health and Welfare LPA in place allows you to choose the people you would like to make decisions about things like ongoing medical treatment and what care home you should go to. You can even give your attorneys the power to make decisions on life sustaining treatment.

4. You don’t need to worry about making an LPA if you have an EPA (Enduring Power of Attorney)

LPAs replaced EPAs several years ago and although EPAs can still be valid documents it is worth reviewing them and ensuring that you are happy with the powers they provide. EPAs are much more restrictive for attorneys when compared to LPAs and it is not possible for your attorneys to make any decisions regarding health and welfare under an EPA.

5. It’s a waste of time and money if you don’t actually lose your mental capacity

LPAs can be useful to have in place even if you are fortunate enough to keep your capacity throughout your lifetime. A Property and Financial LPA can provide your attorneys with the power to act for you straight away, which can be really useful if you are in a position where you are physical incapacitated but mentally able (as a result of an accident, for example) or if you would like someone to manage your affairs for you whilst you enjoy your world cruise. People often make their LPAs in the hope that they will never need them but with the peace of mind that they are there if they do.

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