What is a Lasting Power of Attorney and why would I need one?

Couple signing document at James and Co, Burnham-on-Sea

A Lasting Power of Attorney document grants your trusted attorneys the ability to make financial and personal decisions on your behalf, from investments to medical treatments. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Naming a trusted attorney to act on your behalf, and take care of your affairs should you be unable to, can provide an immense feeling of relief and comfort.  

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can take care of your financial and personal matters, easing stress for you and your family. James and Co, Legal Executives based in Somerset, can help you understand the benefits of appointing an LPA, when’s a good time to do so, and guide you through every step of the legal process. 

We chat to James Benton, director of James and Co, to reveal why you should seek the help of a lawyer to set up an LPA, and how it can help you plan for the future.

Q: What is a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

Group of smiling people walking at James and Co, Somerset

Getting your affairs in order early on can take a huge amount of stress off your shoulders, as safeguards are placed upon your finances. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A: A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a powerful legal document that enables your chosen attorneys to make decisions on your behalf. Attorneys are appointed to manage matters of finance, healthcare and property for those who are either currently unable to manage these affairs, or may be unable to do so in the future.  

LPAs are considerably easier to oversee than a Court of Protection process, for which the application procedure can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. In comparison, an LPA document can be signed and sent to you within four to six weeks.  

Q: How do property and affairs and personal welfare LPAs differ? 

A: There are several differences to be aware of between these two types of documents. Property and affairs cover a range of financial aspects including assets, managing your taxes, as well as buying and selling property. All of your bank accounts, investments and pensions also fall into this category. 

A personal welfare LPA enables your attorney to make health decisions if you are incapacitated. These decisions can be quite varied, such as selecting the right care home, whether you will receive care at home, what treatments will be prescribed and whether a specific vaccination will be administered. All medical needs are covered under this power of attorney.  

Couple signing paperwork at James and Co, Burnham-on-Sea

Signing a Lasting Power of Attorney avoids a lengthy and expensive court process, and secures your attorneys within four to six weeks. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Q: What are the benefits of signing an LPA? 

A: Transferring the legal right to take care of your affairs to one or more trusted attorneys can bring a lot of comfort. For people with conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson’s and vascular dementia, the worry of losing mental capacity in the future can be eased by the knowledge that their affairs are in order and will be well looked after.  

Without a power of attorney to sort out the arrangements, a lengthy and expensive court process follows just to determine who can act on your behalf. This may cause delays to receiving treatment that you need, or hold up payments for bills and care, which may then fall to your family to cover in the meantime. Overall, it is a much simpler process to draft up an LPA than to leave it up to the courts to make a decision.   

Q: Is signing a Lasting Power of Attorney a complex process? 

A: With the help of a professional and experienced lawyer, the procedure is very simple. We can arrange to meet with you in person or via a video call, to discuss your specific requirements, draft a suitable LPA, and get it signed and witnessed.  

There are no form filling exercises needed, we will handle all of the paperwork on your behalf. It is a very quick and easy process from start to finish and will safeguard your finances and future in the face of uncertain times. 

To learn more about Lasting Power of Attorney documents or to make an appointment, visit jamesandcoonline.co.uk or call 01934 660255.

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