What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows your loved ones to take care of you and your finances if you become unable to do so yourself.

There are two types of LPA:

A "Property and Financial Affairs" LPA allows your loved ones to deal with paying your bills, buying and selling your property and managing your bank accounts and investments.

A "Health and Welfare" LPA covers decisions about health and care and even deciding where you are to live. This can only be used if someone is incapable of dealing with such matters themselves.

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An LPA ensures that, should you be unable to manage your own affairs, the people you have appointed can manage your financial life on your behalf. This can save a great deal of money and distress, and will ensure that, as a vulnerable person, your affairs will be handled correctly and quickly.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025. More than 1 in 5 people over 85 already suffer from this, with rates significantly higher amongst women than men.

Accidents, strokes, brain injuries and Parkinson's disease can also affect someone's ability to make their own decisions. Handling your financial affairs can become virtually impossible, which is why charities who care for the elderly recommend everyone plans ahead. This could have the dual benefit of saving a great deal of money and easing the burden on their relatives.

Risks of not having an LPA

If you lose mental capacity without an LPA in place, your family must o apply to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed to deal with everyday financial matters. This is a slow and very expensive process, costing thousands of Pounds. If you have to use a lawyer it could cost a lot more. If you already have an LPA in place, this will not be necessary.

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Joint bank, building society and business accounts can be severely restricted if ONE of the account holders loses mental capacity and there is no registered LPA in place.

"If one joint account holder loses mental capacity, banks and building societies can decide whether or not to temporarily restrict the use of the account to essential transactions only" - British Bank Association

The restricting of a joint account has severe implications as the joint owner cannot freely withdraw what is their own money without an order from the Court of Protection. This could be devastating, especially if the joint owner has their only form of income, such as their pension, paid into this joint account.

"If your joint bank account is frozen, how will your partner pay essential bills such as your mortgage, utilities, car payments or insurance?"

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