When should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Much like when deciding to make a Will (see our Article – When should I make a Will?), there is no right answer, to the question: when should I make an LPA? Everyone’s circumstances are different and so timing will be different for everyone.
Everyone’s lives take different paths and at different ages and there is no one rule that will fit for all.
There are two types of LPA; a Property & Financial Affairs LPA which allows your Attorneys to make decisions in relation to your finances, bank accounts, stocks/shares, ISAs, your utilities as well as any property that you own or have an interest in, and a Health & Welfare LPA which allows your Attorneys to make decisions in relation to your health, medical treatment, day-to-day activities, living arrangements, accommodation and general welfare.
Below we have set out some of the milestones that making and reviewing your LPAs should be considered:
Recovering from an Illness or Injury
Ideally you would have an LPA in place to cover you prior to any incapacity (whether mental, physical or both) through illness or injury but should you not, it is extremely important to make this a priority once you have recovered.
Should anything happen subsequently, or completely separately, you will want to ensure that your loved ones can make decisions for you, on your behalf, if you are unable to without any hassle and delay. If you have already experienced a stint in hospital through illness or injury you will be all too aware of the delays that can be caused and the distress to loved ones through the lack of an LPA.
Once in a Lifetime Trip / Travelling
If you are embarking on a once in a lifetime trip or travelling it is important to consider an LPA. An LPA not only allows your Attorneys to
take decisions when you no longer have the capacity to do so but also if you are unable to because it requires you being physically present or a physical signature which may well be impossible if you are overseas, especially for an extended period.
Buying your first property
When most people buy a property it is usually their most valuable asset, so you need to prepare for this and ensure that someone that you trust is able to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so through lack of capacity or because you are not contactable due to being abroad or in unforeseen circumstances.
When you get married you may wish to review your LPA and consider who was appointed as your Attorney/s and whether this should be updated to include your spouse.
Having a baby
Whether you have your own children, are fostering or adopting, having a child (or children!) changes your life and means that you are responsible for more than just yourself. It is important to have LPAs in place so that your loved ones can make decisions, without delay and without the expense of going through the Court of Protection, in relation to any health, welfare, financial or property decisions that may be required.
As your children get older you may want to consider appointing them as your Attorneys.
Attorneys must be over 18 years of age.
Buying a new or bigger property & Investing in buy-to-let
properties or second homes
When investing in more property you should also consider reviewing your LPAs, should you be unable to take decisions in relation to that property, either through lack of capacity or because you are not physically available or contactable, you need to ensure that someone that you trust implicitly is able to, and has the power to make such decisions.
Investing in assets abroad
When you invest in assets abroad it is important that you are aware of the legal obligations in that country and whether you should be appointing an Attorney to deal with assets in that country.
Equally, if you decide to spend more of your time abroad then you may well have large periods of time that you are not in the UK and will be unable to make quick decisions or be available for signing of documents should it be required and so having an Attorney appointed that can do this on your behalf is important.
Getting divorced or Dissolving a Civil Partnership
If your spouse is appointed as your Attorney and you subsequently get divorced or the civil partnership is dissolved then the former-spouse will no longer be able to act as an Attorney.
It is important to review your LPA at this stage to ensure that you have replacement Attorneys in place or that new Attorneys are appointed.
As we have set out above, when you get married, you may want to appoint your spouse as your Attorney (if you have not already done so) and so your LPA should be reviewed to ensure that the people you trust most with your affairs are appointed under the appropriate LPAs.
Owning a business
If you own a business you should consider our Article – Should I have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place to protect my business?
There may be circumstances in which you are unable to make commercial decisions and if that should happen, it may well be that the person that you would most trust to step into that position is unable to and powerless.
Depending on the setup of your business an LPA should be considered to assist with succession planning and setting out your business plan in order to limit disruption to your business and relieve those closest to you of the burden that comes with uncertainty and the possibility of making a Court of Protection application, avoiding any delays.
This is another milestone where your circumstances change and you may well want to review and update who you have appointed as your
As set out above, you may be fortunate enough to spend some of you time once retired, abroad and so may well need Attorneys in place in the UK to take decisions for you when you are unable to or not available.
Ill or Poor Health
A Lasting Power of Attorney must be put in place whilst you have capacity and a Certificate Provider is required to certify this in order for the Power to be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian.
An LPA must therefore be put in place before your health deteriorates so much so that you lose capacity and are unable to obtain the signature of a certificate provider to register your Attorneys. Leaving an LPA too late can mean that you are unable to appoint those you want as your Attorneys and can mean a long and expensive court process for your loved ones.
An LPA can be revoked at anytime, Attorneys can be removed and new Attorneys appointed as and when you review your LPAs and any changes are required.
There is never a right time to put your LPAs in place but as you can see there are many milestones throughout your lifetime in which your LPAs may be required and so getting them in place early and keeping them under review throughout these milestones is important.
If you would like to discuss putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, call us on 01727 865 121 or email us at info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk for a free discussion on how we can help.
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