The importance of LPA’s
It is often said that there are only two things that are certain in life – death and taxes. Tax we all know about, but death, although it is a certainty that we must all face, the “when” is mostly still an uncertainty, which is why it makes sense to organise a will at the earliest practicable time. If you don’t, then the Government can decide who will receives your estate via the laws of intestacy.
As well as eliminating the risk of uncertainty, making out a will helps to avoid other people trying to contest the Will, that is why it is important to have your will drawn up through a wills specialist like Michael Usher, Wills and Estate Planning. But a will is not the be all and end all. You should also consider the importance of Lasting Power Of Attorneys (LPAs).
Why LPA’s are necessary
So you may have organised a Will to take care of your affairs once you’ve passed away, but don’t forget about the here and now whilst we are still living on the earth. Although you might be fit, well and competent at this point in time, who knows what might happen tomorrow? You could be involved in an accident, suffer a stroke or fall prey to some other form of illness. You might be incapacitated in a way that means you are not capable of handling your affairs.
Authorising a Lasting Power of Attorney can be done at any time, but if you do it when you set your will up, it will be called into action only when the time is right. What that means is that you will be covered for all eventualities and you can forget having to worry about it if your circumstances do suddenly change.
There are two types of LPA, both of which must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. One is with regard to Health and Welfare, and the other is in relation to your Property and Financial affairs. This registration process takes approx. 8- 10 weeks, we organise this for you so that apart from a few signatures, we do all the rest.
Health and Welfare related LPA
An LPA is a contingency you can take out against being mentally incapacitated. In effect, you are giving the person you nominate (most usually a member of your family or a close friend) the power to take action on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
As well as specifying the identity of the person/s you wish to give the lasting power of attorney to, you can also specify how you would like them to act for you. The important thing to bear in mind is that a Health & Welfare LPA can only be used when you have been deemed mentally incapable of acting yourself. In other words, it will never jeopardise your independence.
The Alzheimer’s Society has produced a useful pamphlet on the usefulness of a health and safety-based LPA. For more information, please click here.
Property and Financial Affairs related LPA
You don’t have to be particularly rich in order to warrant making a property and financial affairs LPA. You don’t need to even own your own home.
As well as being very useful for your attorney to assist with financial affairs if you became incapacitated, the Property/Financial document can be brought into play whilst you still have full mental capacity as you may want your attorney to carry out a specific job on your behalf eg collecting your pension, or visiting the bank collect some money for you …but obviously with your permission only.
Any financial decisions you might need handling can include things such as:
- Using bank or building society accounts
- Receiving allowances, benefits and pensions
- Paying regular household bills or care charges
- Purchasing or cashing in investments
- Buying a home or putting your home up for sale
If you would like to discuss the advantages of an LPA of one type or another (or indeed both), please contact us here at Michael Usher Wills and Estate Planners.
NB: If you have had an Enduring Power Of Attorney carried out previously, do let us know as it may not cover you for everything you require.