Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney: What is more important?
Now, Martin Lewis the Money Saving Expert has been in trouble with the press recently as he has said that LPAs are more importantly than Wills. This caused huge controversy and saw the expert having to justify himself over-and-over on social media.
Here at TLC… we agree with him!
Wills are very important and we highly recommend everyone should get one in place to ensure their wishes are carried out exactly as they would like when they are no longer around. There are so many benefits to putting a Will in place that people, unfortunately, only come to realise when it’s too late.
But, as important as a Will is, it’s more intended for when you die.
An LPA is vital to ensure your are covered and protected DURING your lifetime.
An LPA allows someone that you trust to act on your behalf and make decisions that are in your best interests should you no longer be able to do so yourself. This can relate to both your health and welfare as well as your property and financial affairs.
We have written lots about the benefits of an LPA and why it is so important to have in place, so check out our articles on the topic if you would like to know more.
So, this is why we at TLC, and I personally, believe that LPAs are more important than a Will.
However, it this all could be down to perspective…
When looking at the importance of Wills and LPAs, let’s consider who’s perspective we are looking at it from and why that makes a difference.
For me, it’s more important to take the perspective of the individual who is making the Will or LPAs. For them having an LPA will benefit them during their lifetime, the Will only comes into effect when they are gone.
If you look at it from the other perspective, that of their loved ones that are left to deal with matters, which is more important for them? This may differ depending if the death is sudden and so a Will may be extremely useful, or whether the individual deteriorates and loses capacity and then the loved ones will also benefit from being able to assist and have the power given under the relevant LPA.
Without a Will:
- Will the family know what the person’s funeral wishes were?
- The person will die intestate, this means the Laws of Intestacy are to be followed and essentially this means the government decides where that individual’s money goes.
The family will need to carry out probate and go through the courts to be able to do so; this could be a lengthy, complicated and expensive process that could be avoided by putting a simple Will in place (and it costs a lot less too!).
At what is already a difficult time for the family, having a Will in place makes things a lot more simple, and although still difficult, it can prevent family arguments and tension.
Without an LPA:
- If a person loses capacity and does not have an LPA in place then life becomes that little bit more complicated. A loved one, or carer, can apply to the Court of Protection for Deputyship (this is where the court appoint an Attorney to act for the person who has lost capacity), but this is a lengthy and extremely costly process. In the meantime you may struggle with the following:
- Joint bank accounts may be frozen;
- No one will have authority to access bank accounts in the person’s sole name to pay for expenses such as, grocery shopping, utilities & amenities and care costs to name but a few;
- No one will have authority to speak with any financial institutions on behalf of the person;
- No one will have authority to speak with any utility companies to ensure the provision of necessary utilities;
- No one will have authority to deal with the property on person’s behalf making any decision regarding selling the property and moving the person into more appropriate accommodation for their care needs;
- No one will have authority to speak with the Local Authority or the Department for Work and Pensions on behalf of the person to ensure the correct benefits and financial provisions are in place.
- For the Health & Welfare side of things:
- No one will have authority to give direction as to the person’s living arrangements or day-to-day activities/welfare;
- No one will have authority to liaise with the person’s GP, Hospital staff or healthcare professionals;
- No one will have authority to liaise with care home/ warden/ sheltered accommodation in relation to day-to-day care;
- No one will have authority to liaise with Local Authority in relation to the person’s health and welfare issues.
So, to clarify, both a Will and LPAs are vitally important to put in place but we feel as though an LPA is more important to an individual DURING their lifetime.
If you would like to have a free chat about Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact us on info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121
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