Here at Prestige Tax and Trust Services, we believe everyone should have in place a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This means that should the worst happen and you lose the ability to make informed decisions for yourself; for example, if you suffer a brain injury or develop Alzheimer’s; then you have a plan in place to take care of your estate, assets and medical decisions. Usually this would involve the election of a trusted friend or family member to make decisions on your behalf.
If you find yourself in this situation and do not have an LPA in place, the Court of Protection will appoint a Deputy to manage your estate. This can incur large legal fees of up to £800 a year, as well as doctor’s fees, deputy fees and certification charges, amongst other things. In addition to these charges, the Deputy may not know your personal circumstances and will only be able to make decisions informed by paperwork, rather than the opinions of your loved ones.
There are two types of LPA: Health & Welfare and Property & Finance. Below are detailed the differences between the two.
- Health & Welfare
This is a legal document that allows your elected attorney(s) to make any health or welfare decisions on your behalf. It can extend as far as the decision of consent to life sustaining treatment if you so wish.
Decisions covered by a health and welfare LPA include:
- Medical treatment
- Staying at home or entering supported living
- Daily issues of diet, dress and routine
- People that may or may not have contact with you.
- Property & Finance
This LPA is necessary for anyone with assets to protect. Without an LPA, even a joint bank account would be suspended until the Office of the Public Guardian steps in. A Property and Finance LPA affects everything from bank and building society accounts to tax affairs and benefit claims.
Some LPAs don’t require legal advice, though in most situations, it’s wise to seek the counsel of a specialist in this field. Similarly if you’re elderly or suffering with mental health issues, it’s a good idea to speak to a legal professional before going ahead. That way everything will be logged by the professional and no one will be able to question your decisions or claim that you didn’t know what you were doing.
In creating an LPA, you are choosing who you want to place in charge of your major life decisions should you lose the ability to do this for yourself, therefore maintaining control over your future. It will give you and your loved ones peace of mind during a difficult time. It’s important that a trusted person knows where to access important documents relating to your care. Prestige Tax and Trust Services recommend a secure storage facility.
If you need any advice on LPAs or any other area of estate planning, please visit the Prestige Tax and Trust Services website for full details of our services. You can also follow us on Twitter for regular updates like this one.