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Don’t leave it too late to arrange lasting power of attorney

Specialist private client lawyers are encouraging people to consider making Lasting Power of Attorneys (“LPAs”) before it is too late.

An LPA is a legal document that allows the donor (the person giving away the power) to appoint a person or people, known as attorneys, to act during their lifetime to help make decisions or make decisions on the donor’s behalf in the case of a lack of mental capacity.

There are two different types of LPA – a property and finance LPA and a health and care LPA. The property and finance LPA can be used to manage property, bank accounts and any savings and investments. The health and care LPA allows attorneys to decide on medical care, living arrangements and even diet, dress, or daily routine. The health and care LPA can also encompass life sustaining treatment decisions which can include a serious operation such as a heart bypass or organ transplant, cancer treatment and whether artificial hydration and nutrition is to be withdrawn.

With the Court’s administrative body taking up to 22 weeks to process LPA applications Ben Tasker, associate in the private capital team, is advising clients to put plans in place way before they think they might need them to ensure their affairs are looked after during their lifetime if they lack mental capacity or require additional help.

Ben said: “You do not want to leave it too late to prepare LPAs especially as the government body responsible for registering the powers are currently taking around 22 weeks to register them and they cannot be used before then. I recommend setting up both types of LPA regardless of circumstances and age, provided you are over the age of 18. Of course, we do not have a crystal ball and we do not know what is around the corner. Often my clients think about a gradual deterioration in health rather than a rapid decline or accident resulting in a sudden loss of capacity.

If you do not create a Lasting Powers of Attorney whilst you have capacity a loved one can apply for a court order to determine who can act on your behalf. This process is costly, lengthy, and loved ones do not always get the desired result because the Court will ultimately decide who will act on your behalf.”

Ben continued: “None of us want to have to make these decisions before we are faced with them, but it is so much worse for the family if we do not talk and plan in advance.”

Ben specialises in wills, trusts, estate planningpowers of attorney and advance decisions. He has extensive experience in advising a multitude of clients and their families particularly in relation to wealth preservation.

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