A Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your wishes should you become unable to make financial or health decisions for yourself.
But, all too often people fail to make an LPA because they are unsure about what it involves and why it is needed. Here are the most common misconceptions about LPAs:
I don’t need an LPA because I am fit and healthy
Our individual circumstances can change in an instant. People lose mental capacity for many different reasons including accidents, strokes and heart failure.
So, rather than waiting until you are losing capacity to make an LPA, it makes sense to do so when you are still able to understand and sign the document yourself. Don’t leave it until the moment an LPA is needed as that could be too late.
I have a Will so I don’t need an LPA
While a Will sets out what happens to your estate after you die, an LPA deals with what happens if you can no longer make decisions for yourself while you are still alive. As such, they are very different documents that deal with very different circumstances. Both are needed to protect you and your assets.
My family will look after me, so I don’t need an LPA
Even if your loved ones all agree on how best to look after your finances and health (and this often isn’t the case), it can be hugely stressful for them if they don’t know what your wishes are. An LPA reduces the likelihood of disagreements between those closest to you and gives them the confidence that they are doing what you would wish. For example, you can decide whether your attorney has the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf or set out what you would want.
My family will make decisions that I don’t approve of
With an LPA, you not only retain the right to look after your own affairs for so long as you are capable, but you can also limit the powers an attorney is given, and, include specific guidance to help them make decisions you would approve of.
I already have one LPA, I don’t need another one
There are two kinds of LPA: a Property & Financial Affairs LPA and a Personal Welfare LPA. Both deal with very different matters and having just one will not cover all the different decisions you might need to be made for you.
I have a joint bank account, so my husband/wife/partner can look after our finances
Even if you hold a joint account, you could face issues accessing your cash. In fact, banks often freeze accounts to protect the vulnerable person until they see a copy of a registered LPA.
To protect yourself against becoming unable to manage your financial affairs, and to make informed decisions about your long-term health arrangements, speak to one of our expert team at legalmatters. Call us on 01243 216900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.