Many people wrongly assume that a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is just for the elderly, but as Catherine Causey, Head of Private Client Law at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot, explains, the earlier you make an LPA the better.

An LPA is a legal document which allows you, the donor, to choose one or more people to act as your attorney to make important decisions on your behalf about matters such as property, money, medical treatment and end of life wishes if you become unable to make decisions for yourself.

There are two types of LPA:

  • a financial LPA gives your attorneys the power to deal with matters such as running your bank accounts, managing your investments, paying your bills, applying for benefits, and purchasing and selling your property; and
  • a health and welfare LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions for you about things like your medical care, where you should live, and whether to continue life-sustaining treatment.

Making an LPA allows you to set out in writing how you would like things to be managed if you become incapacitated, providing guidance to your attorneys and placing any restrictions on them you think are required.

When you are young, it is almost inconceivable that you are not going to have control over your life; and granted, conditions such as dementia tend to hit older people. However, anyone can become incapacitated at any time through an accident or illness. If you do not have an LPA in place, your loved ones may not have any say in your health care or be allowed to take control of your assets and finances. Instead, they may face long delays and expense in applying to the Court of Protection to get authority.

How a solicitor can help

An LPA is a powerful document, giving your attorneys extensive power over your personal care or your financial affairs, so it is not something to be entered into without first taking legal advice.

A specialist private client solicitor can talk you through your options, helping you to decide which attorneys to choose and what sort of restrictions you would like to place on them. They can also ensure all the paperwork is correctly filled out, that your LPA is properly registered and therefore valid, and that it truly reflects your wishes.

For more information on Lasting Powers of Attorney, or any other private client issue, contact Catherine Causey at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot on 01626 202402 or email catherinecausey@wbw.co.uk. WBW Solicitors has nine offices across the South West in Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Torquay, Paignton, Exeter, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.