What is an LPA? Do I need One?
What is an LPA and does my family need to get one?
By Helen Gott – Emsleys Solicitors
Many of us are aware that dementia is becoming much more widely acknowledged and talked about. We are an ageing population and whilst people are redefining what getting older looks like, over 18% of the UK population are aged over 65.
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What is an LPA
For readers who are helping older relatives, you may have encountered difficulties in dealing with their finances unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) in place. Even something as simple as contacting a utility provider can become difficult unless the person contacting the company has specific legal authorisation to do so.
LPAs authorise nominated people to make decisions on your behalf even in the event that you become mentally or physically incapable in the future. There are two types of LPA, one relates to financial decisions and the other relates to healthcare decisions. It is possible to put in place one type of LPA without the other.
As they get older, clients are becoming increasingly aware of how important the LPAs are but one aspect that is overlooked is whether younger clients should put them in place?
Arguably, the answer is yes. No one knows what is going to happen in the future, health issues can arise at any time or a serious accident can change the course of someone’s life in an instant. With this in mind, we are talking to clients at a younger age to put LPAs in place. This is especially the case with people who have encountered difficulties in helping their relatives already.
Take the example of clients in their 40s on holiday with their children when a parent sustains a brain injury in a car accident. Aside from the immediate medical needs, what happens if that parent had money in their name which needed to be accessed to make adaptations to the family home so he or she could return there? What if the mortgage was in that parent’s sole name and the mortgage company wouldn’t. speak to the partner about why mortgage payments hadn’t been met? The list of problems which could arise in this situation is extensive and often overlooked.
Without An LPA
In the absence of an LPA, their partner would not be able to access funds or speak to relevant parties. The stress of this situation would be compounded by the legal difficulties in taking over someone’s financial affairs.
It is preferable to have an open discussion with family members about LPAs whilst you are fit and able to do so and not faced with an imminent crisis. LPAs can be stored until such time as they are needed in the future, if ever.
“We insure our house, our cars and take out travel insurance so an LPA is just another type of insurance to insure against our mental capacity declining.”
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