A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document. It allows you to appoint trusted individuals to act as Attorneys, to assist you in making or implementing decisions or to make decisions on your behalf should you the lose capacity to do so during your lifetime.
Without an LPA if you become unable to manage your assets or make day-to-day decisions, through accident or illness, your assets will be frozen and no-one (including your spouse or civil partner) will have authority to manage your finances or make personal choices on your behalf. Many people believe holding assets in joint names avoids this problem but this often isn’t the case. Bills could go unpaid and anyone relying on you for financial support may stop receiving this adding more stress to an already difficult time. Where an LPA does not exist it is possible to make a costly and lengthy application to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed to manage your affairs (someone you may not choose yourself). Registering an LPA which clearly outlines your wishes allows you to choose precisely who can help you and the type of decisions they can make on your behalf.
You should consider professional advice for LPA’s if:
- You want to determine who can help you manage your assets during your lifetime, including during periods of incapacity
- You want to determine the type of decisions that can be made on your behalf
- You want to protect yourself, family and loved ones
- You want to ensure that your wishes are robustly reflected so they cannot be challenged in the future particularly those with more diverse family structures