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Why make lasting powers of attorney

Have you ever wondered what might happen if you could no longer manage your own finances or were unable to make your own decisions about where you lived? For some people this may be a worry.

As a nation, we are now living longer, but with that comes age related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A lasting power of attorney is the legal document that states who has the legal authority to act on your behalf when are no longer able to act for yourself. By making a lasting power of attorney you decide who you would like this to be and these people are called your attorneys.

Lasting powers of attorney are in two parts, one part deals with your property & financial affairs, such as managing bank accounts, paying bills and selling your home, and the other part deals with your health & welfare, such as where you should live and who you should live with, your day-to-day care and consenting to or refusing life sustaining treatment.

Once lasting powers of attorney are prepared and registered, the property & financial affairs part can then be used by your attorneys straightaway. For example, they can take the document to your bank/building society and they can deal with all your banking matters, your utility providers and income providers, etc.

However, the health & welfare part cannot be used until you have lost mental capacity, in other words when you can no longer make your own decisions.

Lasting powers of attorney can only be made whilst you have the mental capacity to do so. When you do not have this ability anymore, it can become a costly and time consuming exercise for your relatives to sort out your affairs.

It is also worth bearing in mind that a property & financial affairs lasting power of attorney can be useful to have in place, not just if you become mentally incapable of managing your own affairs, but also if you become physically incapable or simply do not want the responsibility any more.

If you would like to discuss making lasting powers of attorney, please contact our wills & probate team now.

Author – Rachel Towle