Lasting Powers of Attorney – not just for the elderly
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is the legal mechanism by which a donor appoints an attorney to make decisions on their behalf. There are two types of LPA, one for health and care and one for financial decisions.
The health and care LPA gives the attorney power to make decisions on issues ranging from diet and daily routine to care home arrangements and life sustaining treatment. The financial LPA gives an attorney power to make decisions on matters including paying bills, dealing with investments and buying or selling property. Most commonly both applications are made together.
The common misconception is that LPAs are something that need to be set up for elderly relatives before they may develop dementia. There is a risk that if families do not address this issue soon enough, capacity is then lost and they are left having to make a deputyship application to the Court of Protection. The costs and complexity of a deputyship application are significantly greater than setting up an LPA. Setting up an LPA is usually more straightforward and more cost effective than a deputyship application, although timing is key and it is important to get this set up in advance.
It could be said that we should all have LPAs in place so that we are prepared for the worst case scenario. This is especially true for those that enjoy extreme activities like paragliding, high risk sports such as rugby or have careers where they find themselves surrounded by hazards such as stuntmen in the film industry. But can apply to anyone who has an accident or suffers a life changing condition, meaning that they need help to manage their affairs.
There has been a recent increase in awareness of early onset dementia in former rugby union players. It is likely that this phenomenon has caught many retired professionals unprepared to deal with the after effects of their sporting career. It would be wise for any of those currently playing or considering a professional career in sport to put an LPA in place so that their loved ones can care for them should they suffer any form of life altering injury.
If you have been enjoying the Autumn Internationals this weekend, don’t be as unprepared as England were. Take the opportunity to discuss arrangements and to plan for the future with your family members. Unexpected accidents and unforeseen incidents are just that; they leave us all unprepared. Having an LPA in place means that your attorneys can make decisions on your behalf without delay.