The importance of LPA's
If we have learnt anything over the past year it is that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Therefore it is of fundamental importance that you prepare for the unexpected as much as possible.
One way in which you can prepare for the unexpected is through having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place. A Lasting Powers of Attorney is a document that allows you to specify who can act on your behalf and make decisions for you should the need arise, e.g. if you no longer have mental or physical capacity.
It is a common misconception that someone close to you can naturally assist with any matters that may occur should you lose capacity. This is because the law states that organisations can only correspond with someone with legal authority to act on your behalf.
Another misconception is that having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place is something to worry about at a later date in life. However the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that unfortunately tomorrow is not promised, which is why there is no better time to start thinking about planning for the future by having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.
A practical example
A practical example of the consequences of not having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place is the unfortunate circumstances Good Morning Britain presenter, Kate Garraway found herself in when her husband Derek Draper aged 53 was taken to hospital with COVID-19 and subsequently place into a coma.
The recent documentary ‘Kate Garraway: Finding Derek’ emphasised Kate’s struggle to take control of Derek’s financial affairs such as bank accounts, insurance and his car were all in Derek’s name meaning Kate could not legally gain access to these things as she did not have Power of Attorney. This lack of control meant that Kate was unable to refinance her mortgage resulting in further financial strain.
Types of LPA’s
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney that you can have in place:
· Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare
· Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs
A Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare LPA covers decisions about your care and treatment when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. These may include what care you need; who provides that care; where you live; who visits you and the medication and treatment you receive. You must also state whether or not you want your attorneys to have the authority to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment on your behalf.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs enables your attorneys to deal with your property and finances. For example, they can manage your money and investments; sort out your banking problems; carry on your business; pay your bills; sign cheques for you; arrange for any care fees to be paid; and ensure that you receive any money that you may be entitled to.
LPA’s and COVID-19
“COVID-19 has been the single greatest public health emergency in the history of the NHS”
Now we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the fast roll out of vaccinations, another practical example of the benefit of having a Lasting Powers of Attorney in place is shown with regards to eligibility of having the vaccine. If someone who lacks mental capacity to consent to having the vaccine has a Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare in place then their Attorney can consent to them receiving the vaccine of their behalf if they consider it to be in the person’s best interests or they may have given instructions that they do not want to be vaccinated in their power of attorney.
How we can help
There is no better time to start thinking about having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place. Mental and physical incapacity can occur at any time in a person’s life and this is why it is important to prepare accordingly as much as possible. Not only will it put your mind at ease, it will also take the financial strain and pressure off of your loved ones.
Here at Garden House Solicitors we pride ourselves in delivering a personal and professional service. We are also able to act as professional attorneys for you if you require. If you would like our assistance and advice in drafting your Lasting Powers of Attorney please do not hesitate to contact us on 01992 422128 and we would be happy to book you in for an appointment virtually or in person.