Posted on 5th June 2017 at 20:59
Partner, Ally Ilott, explains what a Lasting Power of Attorney document is and why it is crucial not to delay putting both types in place.
"Each time I see a client to take instructions to draw up their will, I also talk to them about why a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is so important. An LPA is a legal document which allows a client to appoint people they trust to make decisions regarding their health and finances if the client become unable to do so in the future, due to a decline in their mental health. There are two types of LPA;
Health and welfare - covering decisions regarding medical treatment and the care you receive; and...
Property and Finance - covering everything from paying bills, opening and closing bank accounts and buying and selling property.
Crucially, a client's decision to draw up an LPA must be done whilst they have good mental capacity. Many people choose not to draw up an LPA because they feel they are too young and healthy and can't foresee the need for one. Given the shocking statistics that 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 are suffering with dementia*, making an LPA early will ensure that somebody they trust can manage their finances and healthcare as soon as they are unable to do so.
If there is no LPA in place when a client suffers a decline in their mental health, an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection for, for example, a family member or friend of the client to become a 'Deputy'. This can be an expensive and lengthy process, at a time which will also be difficult for the client's family. Application fees are £400 each for Property & Finance and Health & Welfare and there may also be a £500 fee if a court hearing is needed plus annual fees of £320. Currently, the waiting time from making an application is between 4-6 months.
Martin Lewis gave an interview on This Morning at the start of this year on the importance of making a will and LPA. Interestingly enough, the money expert confirmed that he has an LPA in place at the age of 42. Listen to Martin discuss this in the next section of your training.
Lasting Power of Attorneys were introduced in 2007. Prior to this the documents were called Enduring Power of Attorneys (EPA). EPAs are still valid if a client drew one up before 2007 but , like LPAs, they would need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they could be used."
* Source Alzheimer's Society
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