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Greater awareness and an ageing population has driven the increase in Lasting Power of Attorney

Public awareness of the importance of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs) is growing.

The number of people registering these essential legal documents has doubled – to 3.85 million people – in just three years.

In the year to April 2019, 800,000 applications were made to the Office of the Public Guardian, according to an article on This Is Money.

Setting up LPAs

We can offer you a service that prepares LPAs for you which takes the stress out of dealing with  paperwork and registering the documents with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Lasting Power of Attorney are essential legal documents. The purpose of an LPA is to allow trusted individuals called ‘attorneys’ – often children over the 18 – to make decisions on your behalf.

Where Wills are ‘active’ when you die, LPAs are used while you’re still alive. This is in the event of an accident or a condition that leaves you mentally incapacitated, like dementia.

There are two types of LPA – one that covers health and welfare and the other covering property and finance.

Health and Welfare LPA enables your attorneys to make decisions about your care and wellbeing. Where on the other hand, Property and Finance LPA allows your attorney’s to pay essential bills using your money.

Why the increase?

So, why are more people getting LPAs?

As This Is Money points out:

“An aging population, greater awareness of conditions like dementia, and the trend towards people investing their pension in retirement are likely to be among factors driving the increase in people setting up power of attorney for their finances and health.”

If you don’t have LPAs in place, your relatives could find themselves in financial heartache if you were ever to lose mental capacity. The article states:

“Without a ‘lasting power of attorney’ document created in advance, families can find themselves locked out of an ailing loved one’s finances and facing a complicated court process to be appointed their ‘deputy’, with fees running into many thousands of pounds.”

How are LPA’s used?

So, what would your attorney be allowed to do? There’s guidance in the STEP document “Why make a Lasting power of attorney?”:

“The attorney’s powers may be restricted. And the LPA can specify that it can only come into force once you no longer have mental capacity (this applies in any case to Personal Welfare LPAs). The attorneys only have limited powers to make gifts of your money or property. Although the court may authorise additional giving. When making investment decisions, the attorney will need to take appropriate professional advice.”

Lasting Powers of Attorney in its current guise is relatively new and replaced its predecessor, EPA (Enduring Power of Attorney). As stated on Wikipedia:

“Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs) in English law were created under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and came into effect on 1 October 2007. The LPA replaced the former Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) which had limited scope.

The LPA’s purpose is to meet your needs when you, in the future, – in the words of the Act, ‘lack capacity’ – to look after your own personal, financial or business affairs. The LPA allows you to make appropriate arrangements for family members or trusted friends to be authorised to make decisions on your behalf. The LPA is created and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice of the United Kingdom.”

Lasting powers of attorney can only be registered whilst you still have mental capacity. And since it takes around three months for the OPG to register them, it’s best to get LPAs as soon as possible, even if you never use them.

So call Maplebrook Wills today and we can arrange a convenient appointment to discuss further. Call 01392 540 996.

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