I Have A Valid Will, Do I Also Need A Lasting Power Of Attorney Or Are They The Same Thing?
A Will is a legal document that you prepare during your lifetime whilst in sound mind, to be used in the event of your death. The Will details your wishes with regard to how your assets should be distributed following your death. In addition, the Will details who will be the Guardian to your children if you were to die before they are legally considered able to look after themselves.
A Will gives you comfort in the knowledge that after your death your wishes will be fulfilled and your family cared for in a way of your choosing. However, Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is relevant if, during your life, you lose mental capacity.
Lasting Power of Attorney
The LPA names an individual or individuals (called an Attorney or Attorneys) who are appointed to look after your affairs in case you become mentally incapacitated. This could be due to a serious accident/ illness or old age. There are two types of LPA, welfare and financial.
Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
The welfare LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions about healthcare as well as personal welfare, such as where you live, who cares for you, who you should have contact with, and the type of healthcare and medical treatment you receive.
Financial Lasting Power of Attorney
The financial LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions about your money or your property, such as running your bank and savings accounts, paying your bills, making or selling investments, buying or selling property and arranging repairs to property.
The Attorney can have considerable power over the quality of your life and management of your finances, in the event you lose mental capacity. Therefore, it is essential that you appoint someone you trust and who understands you. The Attorney will be making decisions on your behalf and looking after your affairs, interpreting requests laid out in the LPA.
These documents are both designed to ensure that your wishes are executed when you are unable to do so yourself, but are both necessary to cover all eventualities.
It is worth noting that if you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place, you and your family may lose control of your property and finances. Without an LPA, it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection. This could incur greater cost and stress for your family and loved ones. The Court will appoint ‘Deputies’ to make decisions on your behalf in the absence of a named Attorney. Who the appointed a Deputy is, as well as the level of control they have over your affairs, is no longer your decision.
As with many legal procedures or documents, they can seem daunting and complicated. However, we provide a friendly and cost effective service conducted in the comfort of your own home. We have experience in drawing up Lasting Power of Attorney Documents for a wide variety of clients. Call Gerard James Estate Planning today and book an appointment to put in place your peace of mind.