Contrary to what many people think, a Lasting Power of Attorney is not just for older people.
Many of us know that it is important to make a Will to ensure that our loved ones are provided for after our deaths, but we often don’t think about the practical problems that are created if we ever lost mental capacity – whether through ageing, or through illness or an accident which can happen at any time.
Just because we have a spouse, partner or a person we consider to be our next of kin, they do not automatically have authority to deal with our financial affairs or make decisions about our welfare. For example, who will manage your personal affairs, your business and your money should you lose mental capacity?
As a wills and estate planning solicitor I often see first-hand just how distressing it is to families who are trying to help a loved one who has lost mental capacity, but does not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
If a Power of Attorney hasn’t been made, then it is often necessary to go to Court. This process takes months and incurs ongoing expenses such as an annual insurance policy and Court fees, and accounts have to be sent to the Court each year.
You could consider a Lasting Power of Attorney as being a bit like an insurance policy but with a one off payment instead of payments every year. If you should ever need it – whatever your age – it is there to help your family to help you.