In our daily lives, it’s easy to overlook important legal arrangements that can significantly impact our future well-being. One of these is the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), a document that grants authority to a chosen individual or for individuals making decisions on your behalf in case you lose the mental capacity to do so. Andrea Bingham, Head of the Wills, Trusts and Probate department, explains the consequences of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place should you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
Understanding the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
An LPA is a legally binding document that allows you to appoint a trusted person or persons to make decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer able to make them yourself. You can only make an LPA if you have the necessary mental capacity to do so. There are two types of LPAs:
Property and Financial LPA, covering decisions related to your finances and property.
Health and Welfare LPA, dealing with healthcare and personal welfare decisions.
The Consequences of Not Having an LPA
- Legal Interventions:
Without an LPA, if you lose capacity, your loved ones might need to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy in order to be able to deal with your personal affairs. This process is time-consuming, costly, and can be emotionally draining for your family.
- Loss of Control:
Without a Property & Finance LPA, decisions about your finances, such as paying bills or selling a property, become difficult and even impossible for others to undertake on your behalf.
If you do not have a Health & Welfare LPA in place, decisions about your health & welfare will be entrusted to medical professionals and authorities possibly disregarding your personal wishes.
- Strain on the Family:
The absence of an LPA can lead to disagreements among family members about the decisions to be made on your behalf.
During emergencies, medical professionals may need to make critical choices without awareness of your preferences or medical history.
Steps to Take if You do not Have an LPA in Place
- Prioritise Creating an LPA:
It’s important to prioritise creating an LPA while you have the mental capacity to do so. Consult a legal professional specialising in LPA matters to ensure the document is valid and tailored to your specific needs.
- Engage in Honest Conversations:
Engage in open discussions with your loved ones about your wishes. Although these talks can be tough, they offer clarity on your preferences and can prevent potential family conflict. Your preferences can be included in your LPAs to ensure your wishes are carried out.
- Regular Review and Updates:
If you have an existing LPA, ensure it remains current and relevant to your current circumstances. Regular reviews ensure that any adjustments may be made.
How JMP Solicitors Can Assist
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place or would like to review an existing one, please don’t hesitate to contact JMP Solicitors. Andrea and her team are here to assist you. Call now at 01476 565 295 or email at email@example.com to make an appointment.