Lasting Power of Attorney - who needs one?

Millions of people believe that when a loved one loses the ability to make their own decisions, they will automatically be able to step in take control, without any issue.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to help you make decisions, or to make decisions on your behalf, with regard to your financial affairs or your health and welfare. This means you can choose who can help you should you have an illness or an accident and can’t make your own decisions. These people would be known as your attorneys. You must be 18 or over and have the ability to make your own decisions when you make your Lasting Power of Attorney.

Most people neglect to make a power of attorney, usually because they don't understand the importance of the document or they feel that they can’t justify the costs involved.

Here’s why we think you should make a Lasting Power of Attorney whilst you have the ability to do so.

  • When making a power of attorney you can appoint an attorney or attorneys of your choice. These can be friends, family members or colleagues and will be people that you trust;
  • Your Attorneys can start acting on your behalf as soon as the document has been registered if you wish (but not if you don't want them to); and
  • You are able to control the extent of their power over your affairs within the document.

In contrast, if you lose the ability to make your own decisions and don't have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then an application will need to be made to the Courts, who will appoint someone to manage your finances for you. The application process is intrusive and includes disclosing financial and personal information to the Court.   Not only that, but applications can take over 6 months to process and, in the meantime, bills/care fees or other liabilities can mount up. Your family may be under pressure to provide for you and may not have the resources to do, so which can lead to unnecessary stress and worry for your family or friends.

And finally, the costs for an application to Court including court fees and insurance bonds are at least 3 times the cost of a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Talbots Law's Trusts & Estates team are always on hand to help - contact us now to find out how we can help you plan for the future.  Telephone 0800 118 1500, or email Lauren Jasper directly.