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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
It's the kind of comment I dread to hear, but I've heard it more than once. The reason it fills me with dread is because, more often than not, it is too late for me to provide them with what they want and need, a Lasting Power of Attorney. That’s simply because these have to be made whilst a person has the mental capacity to understand what they are signing.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are incredibly valuable documents. They provide you with the ability to appoint someone to manage your financial affairs or health and welfare or even both if in the future you are unable to.
With financial affairs the LPA can even be used under your direction if you are, for example, unable to get out to visit your bank. Both LPAs can also be used if you lose capacity.
The appointment of someone under an LPA is relatively quick and is far less expensive than the alternative.
If we come back to that all too frequently made request: “My mother needs a Lasting Power of Attorney, she has Dementia” it is unlikely I could prepare an LPA without a doctor’s report confirming that she has sufficient capacity. If she does not have the capacity to make the LPA, then one of her family would have to make an application to become a Deputy through the Court of Protection. This takes a considerable amount of time and can be extremely expensive.
It is also very unlikely, except in exceptional circumstances that the Court of Protection would appoint a Deputy for health and welfare and that can cause many problems of its own.
My colleagues and I are, therefore, always very keen to encourage people to get an LPA as early as possible. It may never be needed, but if it is, that little form is worth far more than its weight in gold.
Please contact our team for advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney.