Life’s unpredictable so plan ahead while you have the mental capacity to do so. Here we explain how a lasting Power of attorney can help you prepare.
Plan ahead with a lasting power of attorney
It’s understandable that end of life plans usually focus on making sure loved ones are provided for. This explains why over 50s life insurance is a popular choice. What’s harder to think about is what would happen to you if you were no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Building power of attorney into your future plans, will better prepare you for whatever life throws at you.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is the legal authority for another person to act on your behalf. There are two types of power of attorney:
1. Ordinary power of attorney – Gives someone the authority to look after your financial affairs for a period of time. For example, if you’re physically ill or abroad for a long time. An ordinary power of attorney is automatically withdrawn if you lose mental capacity.
2. Lasting power of attorney (LPA) - Gives someone the authority to look after your affairs and make decisions for you, if, in the future, you become unable to or choose not to. For example, a dementia diagnosis. A lasting power of attorney must be set up while you have the mental capacity to do so.
What a lasting power of attorney covers
1. Health and welfare LPA – Gives someone the authority to make a range of decisions relating to your care on your behalf. From what you should eat or wear, to very important decisions, such as the medical treatment you receive.
A health and welfare LPA only comes into force at the point you can no longer make these decisions for yourself.
2. Property and financial affairs LPA – Gives someone the authority to make a range decisions about your money and property. From collecting your benefits to paying your bills and selling your home.
With your permission, a property and financial affairs LPA can be used as soon as it’s registered.
Who needs a lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney is not only for the old and the sick. Illnesses such as dementia, a stroke or serious injury can affect anyone’s mental capacity at any time and at any age.
Also, if you’re married or in a civil partnership, the right to make decisions on your behalf, is not given to your partner automatically.
That’s why it’s worth setting up a lasting power of attorney regardless of your age, your health or relationship. Life is unpredictable and no one knows what might happen in the future.
How to make a lasting power of attorney
- Choose your attorney or attorneys - the person or people you want to act on your behalf
- Fill in the forms available online at GOV.UK
- Register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian as soon as possible – this stage can take up to 10 weeks
What it costs
Registering a lasting power of attorney costs £82 unless you’re entitled to a reduction or exemption if you’re on a low income or benefits.
Changing or ending a Lasting power of attorney
You can change or end a lasting power of attorney at any time as long as you have the mental capacity to do so. For example, if your relationship with an attorney changes.
Your LPA automatically ends on your death. From this point onwards, your executors or administrators will manage your affairs.
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