Whilst many of us understand the benefits of having a Will, you may be less familiar with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) which appoints someone to help you make your own decisions or make decisions on your behalf.
This is a legal document which names an attorney who is likely to be a member of your immediate family, a loved one or a legal professional. Having an LPA in place gives you more control over what happens to you if you can’t make the decision at the time they need to be made – this may be due to an accident or an illness.
You must apply for an LPA while you are mentally able; the Mental Capacity Act says if you did not appoint an Attorney whilst you were able, then only a Judge can. Your family or friends would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be granted attorney status, which can be a lengthy and time consuming process in what could be an already difficult time.
There are two different types of LPAs, one that concerns your health and welfare and one that deals with property and financial affairs; you can choose to make one type or both. To find out more on the different types please click here.
Tom Curran, Chief Executive at Kings Court Trust said: “Having an LPA means you can entrust your decision making to someone close to you in the event that you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself. Although people may assume that an LPA is only beneficial for those in later life, an accident or illness could result in someone no longer being capable of making important decisions for themselves. It is essential that everyone understands the benefits of planning ahead, regardless of our age or health.”
This blog was written as part of the ‘Big Conversation’ campaign which is being run by the Dying Matters coalition which is looking to raise the public’s awareness of dying, death and bereavement. To find out more please visit http://www.dyingmatters.org/