The importance of putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

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The importance of putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be underestimated, especially during the ongoing pandemic with the risk of any one of us or our loved ones becoming critically ill. Indeed, this has been the recent plight of television host, Kate Garraway, who has endured a prolonged period of her husband being hospitalised from coronavirus.

The fact that the distraught TV presenter has been unable to deal with any of the bills or bank accounts in her husband’s name has undoubtedly added to the enormous pressure that she has been under during this difficult time. In a recent interview, Kate Garraway admitted that many of the practical problems she had been forced to face over the past year could so easily have been prevented if she and her husband had given each other a Lasting Power of Attorney.

A Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, is a legal document you set up appointing those you trust to manage your affairs in the event you no longer have the capacity to do so. The documents can also assist if you temporarily need assistance, for example, during a stay in hospital. It is a common misconception that a spouse or partner would be automatically entitled to handle such matters on one’s behalf if the need ever arose, but this is simply not the case.

An LPA can also be used where important decisions about your health and welfare need to be made, from your day-to-day care, to having a say about life-sustaining medical intervention.

For so many of us, the idea of becoming seriously ill or injured, such that we are no longer able to make our own decisions or manage our own affairs, is beyond comprehension. Sadly, it can and does happen, not just through old age and infirmity but often as a result of unexpected illness or accident. We simply cannot predict what is round the corner.

Without an LPA, your loved ones would have to apply through the courts, for example, for the right to manage your finances. This can be a very expensive and time-consuming process and is very restrictive in comparison to LPAs. When it comes to important decision-making about either your property and finances, or your health and welfare, an LPA will therefore significantly lessen the emotional and practical strain on relatives should you become incapacitated.

By seeking legal advice on how to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can feel reassured that important matters, such as money or medical decisions, can be easily dealt with in the event of illness or accident. Needless to say, the best time to do this is while you are fit and healthy. This will allow you to make a rational and dispassionate decision about who best to appoint and what you would like them to deal with. It will also ensure that no questions can be raised over the validity of your decision-making and the document itself.

Having registered a Lasting Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian well in advance of any critical situation, you can go on to live your life with the peace of mind that your future, and that of your family, has been properly safeguarded.

Legal disclaimer

The matters contained herein are intended to be for general information purposes only. This blog does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law in England and Wales and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its’ accuracy, and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should always be sought.