Why you need a Lasting Power of Attorney
As we get older, it’s important to think about what will happen if we lose the ability to make our own decisions. This is where a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) comes in.
An LPA is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. There are two types of LPA:
- Property and Financial LPA: This allows your attorney to make decisions about your finances, such as paying bills, selling property, and managing your bank accounts.
- Health and Welfare LPA: This allows your attorney to make decisions about your health and welfare, such as giving consent for medical treatment and making decisions about your care.
Why you need an LPA.
There are many reasons why you might need an LPA. For example, if you have a progressive illness, such as dementia, you may eventually lose the ability to make your own decisions. Or, if you have an accident that leaves you unable to communicate, an LPA can ensure that your wishes are still respected.
Even if you’re not currently facing any health challenges, it’s a good idea to have an LPA in place just in case. That way, you can be sure that your affairs will be taken care of if something does happen to you.
Most Britons Haven’t Planned Ahead
Worryingly, many of us haven’t made any preparations for the future. In fact, figures from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) show that less than 1% of adults in the UK have an LPA.
OPG data also revealed that nearly half of over-45s didn’t actually know anything about LPAs, and when given more information, nearly two-thirds weren’t interested in setting one up in the future.
That’s particularly interesting in light of a separate study by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and think tank the Centre for Future Studies, which revealed 70% of the British public want a family member to make crucial healthcare and welfare decisions for them.
Yet nearly eight in ten have failed to even discuss their care or end-of-life medical wishes with family members, while almost two-thirds mistakenly believe their next of kin will automatically get the right to make decisions on their behalf.
Only an LPA can ensure this is the case, with chosen loved ones acting in your best interests if you’re unable to make life decisions independently.
How to get an LPA
Ultimately the LPA comes from the Office of Public Guardian (OPG), but you can get advice from us as we are associates of APS Legal & Associates and we can set up and apply to register the LPAs for you.
Alternatively, you can go to a Solicitor or do it yourself by going direct to the OPG.
The OPG has a helpful website with information about LPAs, and they also offer a free online tool to help you create your LPA.
Talking to your loved ones about LPAs
Once you’ve decided to get an LPA, you’ll need to talk to your loved ones about it. This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s important to make sure that they understand why you’re doing it and what it means for them.
The OPG has a helpful guide on how to talk to your loved ones about LPAs. The guide includes tips on how to start the conversation, how to answer your loved ones’ questions, and how to make sure that they’re comfortable with your decision.
An LPA is an important legal document that can give you peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be taken care of if you lose the ability to make your own decisions. If you’re not already done so, I encourage you to get an LPA in place today.