Just like making a will, preparing a lasting power of attorney (LPA) can be emotionally difficult. None of us enjoy thinking about our physical and mental powers failing but none of us know what tomorrow will bring either. Acting now is the best option. Here are five of our top tips:
- Understand the two types of LPA available. A ‘health and welfare’ LPA gives your ‘attorney’ (the person you have named to help you make decisions or to make decisions for you) authority on matters such as your daily routine (in areas including washing, dressing and eating) and medical care, as well as matters such as whether you should move into a care home or undertake life-sustaining treatment. A ‘property and financial affairs’ LPA allows the attorney to make certain decisions regarding the management of your bank or building society account(s), paying your bills, collecting benefits or a pension and whether you should sell your home.
- Choose your attorney carefully. The person you appoint should know you very well indeed (writing down your relevant wishes will be helpful too), should be trustworthy and should be calm under pressure, as difficult decisions might become necessary. You can appoint more than one attorney. If you do, you’ll need to…
- Decide if your attorneys must always act together. Or would you prefer your attorneys to be able to act separately on certain matters? The risk of confusion and disagreement here means we strongly advise you to take professional advice when deciding how your attorneys can act.
- Don’t prepare an LPA when you feel stressed. Such important decisions should never be made when you have just, say, been through a big family argument. (The same rule applies to making a will.) Although you can deliver instructions for an LPA by telephone or e-mail, for example, from the comfort of your own home, we will need to meet you in person to confirm your mental capacity and that you are not being unduly pressured. Now would be a good time to mention the comfortable chairs and cosy open fire in our office that make the perfect environment for calm, clear thinking! And, on a similar note…
- Relax. As long as you still have the mental capacity, LPAs can be cancelled or revised. Although making an LPA should be taken very seriously indeed, your decisions are not irreversible.
With the right professional support, making an LPA can be a simple and stress-free experience. Not only will you secure a better long-term future for you and your family but you’ll also enjoy immediate peace of mind when the work is done. Why not call us now?