Powers of Attorney: The lasting way to ensure you and your family is protected
LASTING Powers of Attorney: should you only consider drawing one up when you’re older, and approaching retirement perhaps? The answer is a firm ‘no’. Here Wilkin Chapman Court of Protection specialist Chantal Ul Haq-Weedon explains how important it is to act as soon as possible.
If the last year has taught us anything, it is the uncertainty of life and how events beyond our control can pay a hefty price on ourselves and those we love. The natural course of life is that we grow into adulthood and old age before leaving our legacy for the generations below. Now, perhaps more than ever before, we are aware of how reality can be different.
The need for us all to consider our affairs as soon as possible is essential and in doing so we must look at the necessity of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and their importance whatever your age. If you or a loved one is facing life with a disability, or a life-limiting condition that may impact your mental capacity in the future, then acting now can ease legal processes for your family further down the line.
Alternatively, we don’t know what the future holds but we do know that life can change in the blink of an eye – a sudden illness or an accident can leave a person needing care and unable to manage their financial affairs without help.
The creation of an LPA gives you peace of mind – you will have chosen those who will manage your finances and who can make decisions about your future care. Creating your own LPA can be done at any stage and it is advised to do this as early as possible so it’s in place for a time when it may be required.
Without it, the process by which people can be appointed to manage your affairs is lengthy, more complicated, and expensive. To put this into perspective, it could take family members up to a year to get authority to manage your property and finances. In comparison, registering an LPA takes just three months at the most, and importantly is half the cost of the alternative.
An experienced solicitor will assist, taking time to ensure their client fully understands the purpose of an LPA in relation to financial matters and future health and care. Clients I have helped have included those living with dementia and disability. I have built relationships with these clients to be confident of their ‘capacity’ to create their own LPAs.
One person was unable to vocalise their wishes to me, but over time it became evident their understanding of, and the ability to use, the written word was good and that is how we proceeded. That avoided any questions over their capacity but also enabled us to progress with an LPA. Similarly, with a client living with a learning disability, I spent time finding different ways to explain the purpose and use of an LPA and was confident about their capacity, avoiding the need for a capacity assessment. Clear notes meant questions of capacity at the time of making the LPA would not be raised in the future.
LPAs can seem ‘far away’ issues to those busy with work, having children, paying a mortgage, or saving for those all-important treats. But they are vital in a world where change is a given. For an informal chat with Chantal, please contact on 01522 515011, or email Chantal.Ulhaq-Weedon@wilkinchapman.co.uk.