3 Ways to get the best from your Lasting Power of Attorney
To get the best from your Lasting Powers of Attorney it helps to plan the document
Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is undoubtedly a good idea. You will have peace of mind that if you ever become unable to make your own decisions, your appointed attorney will have the right to do so on your behalf.
But as with all legal documents, there are complexities and permutations to consider. And this means taking a little time to make sure you’re completely happy with your choices and that you’ve covered everything you need to.
Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney
There are a number of ways to make sure your Lasting Power of Attorney is set up properly, avoiding problems further down the line.
Here are my top three:
Think of it as more than just a form. Yes you can go online and fill out a form and register it as a legal document. But I would always recommend that you speak to a qualified solicitor. They can make sure you’re completing the document correctly and accurately, but more importantly, they can talk to you about your personal circumstances, pre-empt any issues that might arise and advise you on the best course of action for your personal and professional affairs. If you’re going to take out an LPA, it’s worth doing it properly.
Understand your boundaries. When you set up an LPA, you’re asking a person or persons to make judgements about significant issues such as your finances and health, as well as managing day-to-day decisions affecting things like your diet and activities.
So it’s understandable you will want to add in certain restrictions and provisions – and this is fine, to a certain extent. For example, if you have appointed joint attorneys but want them to have different levels of authority, difficulties can arise unless you have very specific wording. This is where your solicitor is a good source of advice. And if you’ve overstepped the mark or been inconsistent in your restrictions, your LPA may not be able to be registered. So by all means include restrictions and state your preferences, but make sure they fall within the legal guidelines.
Balance your personal and professional affairs carefully. Many people choose their spouse, partner or a close relative or friend to be their attorney. Which is perfectly reasonable. After all they know you best and are likely to make good decisions on your behalf. So when it comes to health issues, day-to-day finances and care, they are the obvious choice.
But if you have a business, own a property jointly or your financial arrangements are complex, you could consider appointing a professional as your attorney for these matters. It makes sense to choose someone with a good understanding of your company and financial status, such as a solicitor or financial advisor. They might charge for this service, but better to have the right person on the case.
When properly set up, an LPA is an important and highly effective mechanism for making sure you and your affairs are properly looked after. So it really is worth putting in some time and effort to make sure everything is exactly as you want.
Ask for my fact sheet on Lasting Powers of Attorney or contact me to arrange a consultation.
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