Recently a young couple in their 30’s came in to see me to make Lasting Powers of Attorney. They explained that it was something they knew they probably should do but it had never seemed very urgent until one their fathers was knocked down by a bus while celebrating his 70th birthday in Paris. He was in a coma for many weeks which was hard enough for the family but the situation was made much more difficult because they could not arrange payment for medical expenses (he only had the basic EHIC card). Once back in the UK his recovery was slow and while they did everything they could to help they would have liked to take over the burden of his financial affairs until he felt up to it but, again they were limited in what they could do.
Mental and physical incapacity can hit at any time which is why we should all plan ahead to ease the potential burden on our relatives.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) gives another individual the legal authority to look after your financial affairs or health and welfare should you lose the capacity, either temporarily or permanently, to do so. LPAs are recognised by care homes as well as banks and building societies and the tax, benefits and pension authorities.
If you do not have an LPA in place and become incapacitated, your relatives may face long delays and expense in applying to the Court of Protection to get access to your finances.
LPAs are legal documents and you should consider having one alongside your Will. AGE UK advise that while you don’t need to use a solicitor “it’s important to remember that an LPA is a serious, powerful document