Powers of Attorney – Do we need them?
Posted on 28th October 2019 at 16:46
It may not be a nice thought but imagine a situation where you have lost the ability to deal with your own affairs either because you have lost the physical ability or mental ability to do so. This could be because of illness or accident and does not just affect the elderly. Young people lose capacity and have accidents as well.
The last thing that family and friends need to worry about if you are ill is whether they can pay your bills, have access to your money to pay for any care you require and to generally deal with your affairs.
Without an Enduring Power of Attorney*(EPA) or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs) in place only you can deal with your own affairs. Your family and friends would not have access to your funds without making an application to the Court of Protection (which is a lengthy and expensive procedure) and they would not be able to make decisions about your health and welfare so any decisions with regards to this would be made by the doctors and social services.
To avoid this situation setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney now would ensure that if you do become ill or have an accident, your family and friends would be able to deal with matters much quicker and easier and with less stress. Any decisions made on your behalf would be made by someone who knows you and understands your wishes and needs.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney: one deals with your property and financial affairs and the other deals with your health and welfare.
The Property and Financial LPA enables your attorneys to make decisions about your financial affairs. They can pay bills, invest your money, sell property on your behalf and buy alternative property for you if appropriate. The Health and Welfare LPA enables your attorneys to make decisions with regards to your health. They can decide what medical treatment you should receive, where you live and what you eat and wear.
It is important to consider carefully who you would appoint as your attorneys. You should consider appointing someone you trust and who could deal with your affairs. We would recommend you appoint more than one attorney, and these can be appointed to act in a particular order. For example, if you are married with children, you could appoint your spouse as the first attorney and your children (provided they are over 18) as the replacement attorneys. The replacement attorneys would only act if the first attorney was unable or unwilling to act.
If you don’t have any family or friends who would be willing or suitable to act as your attorney, you could consider appointing professional attorneys such as solicitors, although you should be aware that they would charge for their services when acting as your attorney.
Lasting Powers of Attorneys provide you with the peace of mind that if you become ill and unable to deal with your affairs, there is someone you have chosen to help you at the time when you are most vulnerable.
*EPAs are only valid if signed before 1 October 2007.
Tagged as: Wills, Probates & Trusts
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