What is an LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney)?
Lasting Power of Attorney is an uncomfortable subject. Thinking about what might happen if we lost our mental faculties is not one we would like to consider, however planning ahead is extremely important for our safety and wellbeing especially as you could possibly be in a vulnerable state and your lucid self would want to make sure that your finances are safe and in the right hands.
It is important to note that mental capacity is different from having a mental health condition such as depression or schizophrenia which doesn’t necessarily mean that they lack capacity. The Mental Capacity Act explains more about this: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/M/mental-capacity-act-2005/
There are two types of LPA: one for finance and property and another for health and welfare. Because we are financial advisors, we concentrate on the money and property one. They are both similar, but the health and welfare one can only be done once the individual loses their capacity, not before. You can choose to do one or both. Please note that the process is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The LPAs replaced the EPA system which was Enduring Power of Attorney. If you have an EPA set up before 1st October 2007 it will still be valid whether or not it has been registered, however it must be registered when the individual loses capacity, which will cost £110.
You do not need to give up control of anything. An example of this is if you were to fall into a coma, your representative would look after your financial affairs, however if you were to wake from the coma you would become responsible for your own decisions again.
Why do I need to make an LPA?
If a member of your family has difficulties such as a stroke, Dementia or has a serious accident leaving you in a coma it can be very difficult to sort their affairs out. You have to apply through court to become a ‘deputy’ and that can take months and can cost a fortune to sort out.
It’s easy to think that everyone in the family is well and there is no history of dementia so why should we do it, the important thing to remember is that anything can happen at any time to any one of us and it needs to be done before it’s too late. You can set it up from the age of 18 and anyone can set one up, you don’t need to be unwell to do so.
The most common conditions LPA can relate to are: stroke, coma, delirium, concussion, severe mental health problems, brain injury, alcoholc and drug misuse, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Age UK says that some young people can be affected by this though motor and sporting accidents so it’s not just relevant for older people.
How does it work?
To make an LPA, you must be over 18 and be in control of your own affairs with full mental capacity.
This could be particularly relevant for those who are going on an operational tour, exercise or are in higher risk skill categories within the military and is worth thinking about.
Evolution Forces Families Ltd is a business partner (or appointed representative) of New Leaf (WWF) Ltd. Will Writing is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.