Emily Curtis-Bennett spells out the importance of putting one in place.
We continue to find ourselves in very anxious and daunting times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us will also be concerned about our loved ones, including elderly or vulnerable family members or friends, and will be thinking about what can be done to protect them and their wishes as much as possible.
There have been many examples during the worst of the crisis, of COVID-19 patients deteriorating very quickly and being in hospital for prolonged periods. Although we are emerging from the Lockdown, it remains extremely important to consider who should make important decisions with regards to your health and finances, should you lose the mental capacity and ability to decide for yourself.
Putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can help you to plan for challenges ahead and our Private Client team are on hand to assist you in putting these in place as swiftly as possible.
What is an LPA?
According to the Office of the Public Guardian, less than 1% of people in the UK have an LPA in place. An LPA is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint persons they trust to act as their ‘Attornies’ in dealing with their affairs. An LPA must be prepared whilst the individual still has mental capacity.
There are two types of LPA:
– Property and Financial Affairs: This covers a range of decisions such as selling a house, operating bank accounts on someone’s behalf and dealing with tax affairs. This LPA can be used as soon as registered, with the consent of the individual
– Health and Welfare decisions: This allows the Attorneys to deal with matters of care, accommodation and consenting to, or refusing, medical treatment. This LPA can only be used by the Attorney once the individual loses mental capacity.
If you do not have an LPA and lose mental capacity, it may be necessary for the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to make decisions on your behalf that are in your best interest. This is much more formal and costly process than putting an LPA in place.
It is important to note that any decision made by an Attorney(s) must be in the best interest of the individual. Once an LPA is signed it is sent for registration with the Office of the Public Guardian.
This article should not be seen as formal legal advice. For guidance on creating an LPA and getting this registered, please contact Vassos Vassou, Axiom Stone’s Head of Private Client ,on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0203 827 6114. We will be more than happy to arrange an appointment virtually, via Zoom or Skype, to discuss your wishes and provide you with the necessary advice.