Legal Eagle Column: Wills are important but don’t forget about Lasting Powers of Attorney

Jenny Duckett, Solicitor at Neves Solicitors, explains the Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA.

Discussions regarding future-proofing or protecting your partner’s or family’s financial security often focus on Wills.

Wills are certainly important but have you also considered what would happen if you or your partner lost mental capacity?

If you lose your ability to manage your own financial or personal affairs, there is no automatic right for your partner, husband or wife, or any other family members to access your money and manage your affairs for you.

A LPA is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.

This allows you to appoint those you most trust to help handle your affairs and gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions.

If there is no LPA in place when mental capacity is lost then a family member, friend or solicitor will have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy.

This can be an extremely time-consuming and expensive process, in which you are unlikely to have any say as to who is controlling your affairs and during which time no action can be taken to deal with them.

There are two types of LPA. A LPA for Property and Financial Affairs gives the legal authority for your loved ones to manage your assets on your behalf, for your benefit, and a LPA for Health and Welfare enables your loved ones to make decisions as to your care and medical treatment in situations where you are unable to do so.

LPAs are powerful documents and can provide you with peace of mind but there is a risk of the attorney abusing their position if they have been appointed without due consideration or made aware of the rules they are governed by.

To help avoid issues, we would always suggest independent legal advice is obtained when considering putting LPAs in place.

If you need help with a LPA, please get in touch with our team who can advise you on a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Call Neves Solicitors on 01908 304560

This feature was published in the May 2019 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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