We talk a lot about the need to create Lasting Powers of Attorney, explaining to people what LPAs are and why they are important.
But it struck me that when deciding whether or not they need an LPA, many people are basing their decisions on myths and misinformation.
For example, here are some phrases I often hear:
• “My spouse can make decisions for me if I lack capacity.”
Unfortunately this isn’t true. It is only possible for someone to act on your behalf if you have an LPA.
• “You only need an LPA if you’re older or have had a diagnosis like dementia.”
Mental incapacity can affect people at any age, often without warning, due to accident or illness. An LPA is like an insurance policy: you hope you’ll never need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad it’s there.
• “We have a joint bank account, so if anything happens to me, my spouse will be able to access our money.“
Even with a joint account you could still face problems accessing cash. Your account could be frozen for all but essential transactions until a copy of an LPA or order from the Court of Protection is provided.
• “If the worst happens, my partner could apply to act on my behalf then.”
In these circumstances your partner could apply to the Court of Protection for an Order of Deputyship, but this can take many months to process and can be expensive and stressful.
Most people plan for their deaths by preparing a will, but too few prepare for illness and incapacity.
Lasting Powers of Attorney are the best way to nominate the people who you would like to make financial or health and welfare decisions on your behalf if you become unable to.
Without an LPA you might be left with no control over who can make decisions for you and it could be much more expensive and difficult for your loved ones to arrange things so that they can make decisions on your behalf.
If you are affected by any of these issues or would like advice about LPAs, please do get in touch for a chat.