The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for effective lifetime planning, including the importance of putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney. Have you considered how your loved ones will ensure your wellbeing in an emergency?
A Lasting Power of Attorney gives authority to people of your choice to make decisions about your health and welfare, and property and financial affairs. Everybody over the age of 18 should consider putting one in place.
It is a common misconception that if you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse can automatically make decisions about your finances and health care.
As recently highlighted by TV presenter Kate Garraway, this is not the case and unless your spouse is appointed in a Lasting Power of Attorney as somebody to make decisions on your behalf, they are unable to do so. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, Kate faced a number of obstacles accessing funds for her husband’s wellbeing and ensuring his care was maintained.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney: one for decisions about property and financial affairs and the other for health and welfare decisions. Your circumstances and wishes should be taken into consideration when creating Lasting Powers of Attorney and you should take advice to ensure that the documents can be used as you intend. According to Which? magazine, 22,000 LPAs are rejected every year so it’s essential that you get your legal documents right.
Your attorneys must act in your best interests, involve you as fully as possible when making decisions and also consider your past and present wishes. There is also an option to allow your attorneys to act when you still have mental capacity with your consent. This option is particularly useful in today’s climate with many people continuing to shield or reluctant to leave home.
Lasting Powers of Attorney are important and powerful documents which, when drafted correctly, allow those chosen to make decisions about your financial affairs and health and welfare that are in your best interests.
You should seek advice from an experienced legal adviser to ensure you have considered all aspects. If you would like to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney in more detail please get in touch.
Contributor: Sarah Pitman
This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at March 2021. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.
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