“What happens if I can’t look after things any more?”
If you have already made a Lasting Power of Attorney then the people that you trust
take over your affairs. If not, it could be anyone who takes control - including
even the local authority.
Lasting Power of Attorney
We all know that there could come a time when we are too frail to look after our
own affairs - perhaps through sudden illness or accident, or maybe just because of
gradually advancing years. Whatever the reason - who would pay your bills, manage
your savings, or speak on your behalf on medical matters?
If you have created a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) then it is the person (or people)
that you have chosen who will take over. If not, then nobody (not even your spouse)
can speak on your behalf or manage your affairs without involving the authorities
or receiving permission from a court.
When can an LPA be made? You can only make an LPA whilst you still have mental capacity.
Leaving it until you need it means that you have left it too late. Mental capacity
problems can come in an instant through accident, or creep up so slowly that we don’t
realise it is happening. So make an LPA now, whilst you can consider this important
Who should make an LPA? Any adult might need an LPA, but certainly once we reach
retirement age we should put LPAs in place. Also, without exception, as soon as someone
has a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s or similar problems then an LPA needs to
be made there and then. Experience shows that if you keep putting it off then so
often it gets left until it is too late.
What is involved with making an LPA? click here for more details
The person (or the people) that you appoint as attorney(s) must act in your best
interests and the assets all remain yours. Indeed, the attorney is under a serious
obligation to help you continue making your own decisions - so an LPA can give you
more control, not less. Your InHouse Will writer can help you make the right choices
for your LPA and it is often best created at the same time as making a Will.
What happens if you do not have an LPA in place? If you lose mental capacity without
an LPA then no one can manage things for you - not even your spouse. Indeed, if trying
to move house your spouse could find that they are trapped, with no one allowed to
sign for the sale on your behalf. Very often social services have to step in, able
to make decisions over the heads of the family.
Without an LPA your relatives or friends would have to apply to the Court of Protection,
in order to be appointed your Deputy. They might need to make multiple applications.
Each application can be a lengthy process (typically at least 6 months), with significant
initial expenses plus annual costs of many hundreds of pounds. The choice is taken
away from you, which might mean that someone you do not like or someone you do not
trust could take control of your life.
Make a Lasting Power of Attorney before you forget
Nobody waits until their house is burning down before they try to buy property insurance;
likewise, you can’t wait until you are having mental capacity problems before making
an LPA. If you do leave it too late it causes great difficulties for your family,
is likely to cost you a lot of money and takes away your control of the situation.
LPA - letting you choose who makes decisions in your best interests.