We live in a growing, ageing population. If you lose the mental capacity to handle your own property and finances, your family will find it an impossible task to help without legal authority. That’s why preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is vital. Here Jessica Savage, a solicitor specialising in Private Client Law, offers a guide to how it protects you and your family … whatever the future holds.
“What if…I lose the mental capacity to look after my affairs?”
AS a society, we tend to live very much on a “What if?” basis.
We insure our houses based on the fear “What if we get broken into?” or “What if it burns down?”.
We insure our cars based on the fear “What if it gets stolen?” or “What if we’re involved in an accident?”.
We pay for numerous types of insurance policies each year just in case something goes wrong. We hope that we don’t have cause to use them but we still pay for them because at the back of our minds there is always that question….”What if?”.
None of the scenarios above are pleasant to think about – and we would all hope to avoid them. However, we are realists and we appreciate that one of these events is likely to occur at some point during our lifetime and we want to be protected when it does.
Now consider some other “What ifs?” Again they are not pleasant but there is a real chance that you may find them applicable to you or a family member at some stage in life.
- What if you lose the mental capacity to deal with your own affairs?
- What if you can no longer collect or access your money?
- What if your property needs to be sold to enable you to go into a care home but you are unable to sign the sale contract?
- What if you are unable to authorise payment for care that you need?
If you lose the mental capacity to handle your own property and finances, then your family will find themselves in the position of trying to deal with your affects for you and, without the legal authority do so, this will be an impossible task.
To ensure that you and your family are protected for the future, here at Milners we strongly advise that Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are prepared and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian for use.
These are legal documents that will allow people of your choice to help manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.
LPAs not only cover your finances but also your personal health and wellbeing and providing authority on this basis can avoid huge issues in the future should you find that you need medical treatment or care but are unable to arrange or authorise it.
Without these documents in place, it would be necessary for your family to apply to Court just to be able to assist as you would have wished. This is a lengthy and expensive process and there is no guarantee that the person you would have chosen to act will be the one appointed by the court.
It is important to act now whist you still have capacity to choose who should assist with your affairs. Do not wait until capacity becomes an issue as this will be too late.
If you have any questions or require further information please do not hesitate to contact me, Jessica Savage, on 0113 245 0852.