A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for property and financial affairs is a document which allows you to appoint someone to make certain financial decisions on your behalf. This includes paying bills, managing bank accounts and selling your property, should there ever be a time when you are physically or mentally unable to do so yourself.
It is impossible to know whether you, your partner or a parent will ever be in a position to need someone to act for you, but the consequences of being in that position and being unprepared are so potentially devastating that preparation is imperative.
The One Show recently highlighted a situation in which a 42 year old man was injured in a jet ski accident which left him in a coma for three years. He had no Power of Attorney, which meant that his wife had to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as his Deputy. This application can cost thousands of pounds and can take many months.
Perhaps a more common situation is that of a married couple, living in a house that is jointly owned. If one spouse loses capacity through a stroke or dementia and moves into a residential home, the other may not be able to afford to remain in the house and may wish to sell to buy a smaller property. Not only will it be necessary to make an application for a Deputy for their spouse, but it will also be necessary to make a separate application to the Court to enable the property to be sold. Both applications could have been completely avoided by having a Power of Attorney in place.
An LPA is therefore vital . Think of it as a one off insurance premium. Once done it can simply be put away and forgotten, but you can rest assured in the knowledge that you have done all that it is possible to do to protect yourself and your family against any unforeseen future problems.
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