Many people think about making a Will for all sorts of reasons - ranging from wanting their wishes to be honoured, to making things easier for their loved ones. Few, however, have heard of a Lasting Power of Attorney. Rosie Wright, gives us the lowdown…
What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows one or more people - called Attorneys - to make decisions for another person, the donor. There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney. The first covers an individual’s property and financial affairs. Secondly, there’s one that covers an individual’s Health and Welfare affairs.
Both are legal documents recognised by financial institutions, such as banks, plus government bodies. They allow an Attorney to make decisions an individual could otherwise make for themselves, but are unable to due to a lack of capacity.
In the case of Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney, these can also be used prior to the donor losing capacity, if the donor wishes at the time of the Lasting Power of Attorney’s creation.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can therefore best be described as an insurance policy and while it’s hoped it will never need to be used, it’s there just in case.
What are the alternatives?
If you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney and you lose the ability to manage your own affairs, the alternative is Deputyship. It’s a slow and expensive process, taking on average 9 months to complete.
This therefore makes it extremely difficult for the person looking after you, as they won’t have legal authority to help you until after the authority is granted.
This is why Lasting Powers of Attorneys are very useful documents. The events surrounding Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident demonstrate that even the healthiest athletes aren’t immune to having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, so it’s something you should deal with as soon as possible.
If you’d like more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney or would like to arrange an appointment to see one of our Private Client solicitors, please contact us on 01604 828282 or send us a message via our online service.