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Have you considered a Lasting Power of Attorney?

By: Leanna Haskell

Tags: Wills And Probate, Private Client, Frome

A Lasting Power of Attorney is Just For the Elderly – Or is it?

Absolutely not. Most of us understand the importance of making a Will, but a worrying number of us don’t understand the importance of making Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – whatever your age.

An LPA is a legal document that allows people you trust to make decisions on your behalf, in the event you are no longer able to. There are two types of LPA – one for Health and Care decisions and one for Financial Affairs.  Although dementia is the most talked about cause of mental incapacity; strokes, mental health issues, head injuries and brain tumours can also cause a lack of mental capacity and can happen to any of us – regardless of our age.

These are just a few of the questions we are frequently asked by our clients which highlight the importance of having an LPA in place.

A loved one has just been diagnosed with Dementia. Can they still make an LPA?

Once mental capacity has been lost, it is not possible to make an LPA. There is instead an alternative way to take over someone’s affairs but it is a lengthy and costly process, which is usually unwelcome at a difficult time such as finding a suitable care home for a loved one.

I have access to a loved one’s bank account. Do I need an LPA to access it?

You may have a third party mandate, hold a joint bank account or be helping a loved one with their day-to-day affairs through online banking. What most people don’t realise is that, as soon as mental capacity is lost, you no longer have the legal right to access the account and continuing to do so without an LPA in place could be considered fraud.

I have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place. Do I need an LPA?

If you have an EPA in place, it will still be valid. However, it can only grant your attorney’s the authority to make decisions regarding your finances. They will not be able to make decisions involving your health or care. What’s more, an EPA will need to be registered as soon as mental capacity is in doubt which can take several weeks, leaving you in a vulnerable position in the meantime.

For further information or to talk to a legal expert, speak to a member of our private client team in Keynsham (0117 986 9141), Midsomer Norton (01761 417575) or Frome (01373 463311). 

Alternatively, our Frome office holds a free drop-in private client surgery on the 1st Wednesday of every month, between the hours of 10.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. - pop in if you would like to speak to a member of the Private Client department



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