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Who do you want to take care of your important decisions if you’re no longer able to? It might be your spouse, your partner, your children, your nephews and nieces or even a close friend. With medical advances allowing people to live longer lives, many of us face the possibility of being reliant on others to make the big, personal and important decisions on our behalf once we are no longer able to do so for ourselves.
One of the best ways to plan ahead for such circumstances is to appoint that person under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
An LPA is a legal document that that sets out the person or people that you wish to deal with your affairs on your behalf. To put an LPA in place, one of our expert solicitors can put you at ease and assist you in completing the necessary court forms and lodging them with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Someone you trust. It is very important that you have a strong and trusting relationship with the people you want to appoint as your attorney(s), because under an LPA they would have significant authority over your personal affairs. Do not appoint someone who is putting undue pressure on you to appoint them.
Consider multiple attorneys, or a replacement to step in should your original attorney be unable to act any more.
There is no set age for when an LPA should be set up. As long as you and your attorneys are over 18 and have mental capacity, it is never too early to set up an LPA. If you are concerned that you may not have the mental capacity to set up an LPA in the near future, it is better to arrange the LPA sooner rather than later.
Similarly, if you would like your attorneys to start making decisions for you, then it would be better to start the process as early as you can – the registration of LPAs usually takes 4-6 weeks, but can take longer.
Consequently, in the event that you lose capacity and you do not have an LPA in place, it will be necessary for the person who wants to make decisions for you to apply to the court for a Deputyship. This process can be lengthy and particularly costly and may be difficult for your family at a time when their concerns are with your health and well-being.
There are two types of LPA. One allows your attorneys to make decisions about your property and finances, the other allows them to make decisions about your health and welfare. They each have slightly different rules as to when they can be used. You can choose to set up just one type, or both types. It is always entirely your choice.
Whilst you still have the ability to make decisions on your own, then you can revoke the LPAs at any time. So if your circumstances change, or your relationship with an attorney breaks down, you can withdraw the power you have given to them.
Equally, you can appoint more than one Attorney and replacements to act in the event that your first choice is unable to. This means that, once your LPA is in place, you do not have to worry about having to update and create a new LPA and incurring further costs in doing so.
For more information, or for an appointment to discuss your LPA requirements, speak to one of our expert solicitors in our Wills and Probate team on 01270 625478
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