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It can be easy to push to the back of your mind the making of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Many people decide to delay the making of an LPA or might be unaware of their existence. However, life can be unpredictable and unforeseen events such as accidents or Alzheimer’s can make an LPA critically important as it allows your affairs to be looked after even if you yourself have lost capacity.
What is an LPA?
An LPA is a legal document that allows the donor to appoint one or more people to be attorneys to make the decisions for the donor when they lose capacity. In England and Wales, we have two types of LPA. The first type of LPA being for health and welfare and the second being for financial decisions. You may choose to do just one of these LPAs or both.
Why make an LPA?
We would highly recommend making an LPA and have listed some of the many reasons below.
One reason for creating an LPA is you can directly choose your attorneys. In your LPA you can choose the exact people you would like to be your attorneys and these are the people that will make the decisions on your behalf if you were to lose capacity. For example, it is common for people to choose spouses, siblings or children as their attorneys. In the LPA you can choose one or more attorneys as long as they are over 18.
Furthermore, the disadvantage of not making an LPA is that the decisions may be made by people who have no personal connection to the donor. For example, if no LPA is made then relatives may have to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship which can be a pricey and time-consuming process. The Court of Protection will attempt to act in your best interest but they would not be privy to your own personal wishes on how you want your affairs to be organised and who you would want to be appointed as Deputy.
Therefore, we would recommend creating an LPA because it allows you to state your preferences and instructions clearly to your attorneys in contrast to the Court of Protection. Here, you can put in writing instructions and preferences for your attorneys to follow. For example, instructions might include looking after your investments, selling your home, or a personal instruction such as looking after your pets if you lose capacity.
In addition, another important advantage of an LPA is that you can choose how your attorneys act in the LPA. For example, you may choose to have your attorneys act jointly or severally. Therefore, attorneys can either make decisions separately or together. One example of this could be if one attorney was in hospital then the other could continue to make the decisions. However, in the LPA you would also have the choice to have your attorneys act jointly. This would mean the attorneys would need to both approve a decision and work together and one could not make a decision without the others approval.
Overall, we would highly recommend creating an LPA because they allow the people you trust to act on your behalf and enact your wishes even after you have lost capacity.
What Hubbard Pegman & Whitney can offer?
The Hubbard Pegman & Whitney probate department can assist with creating an LPA and guiding you through the process. An LPA is a very important document and we at Hubbard Pegman & Whitney can ensure that the LPA clearly reflects your wishes.