Make sure your wishes are clear
Posted on 30th April 2018 at 14:33
Whether you’re 18 or 88, you never know what’s around the corner.
That’s why arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney is important.
Let me explain…
Many of us postpone making a will on the basis that, once we’ve passed away, our close friends and family will know and be able to implement our final wishes. This often isn’t the case, but of course, we aren’t there to know about the worry and upset this can cause.
How much worse would it be if you could see those closest to you in distress because you’re unwell, but you can’t tell them what you want or give them the power to act on your behalf?
Brain injuries, illnesses, and situations where you might be unconscious due to an anaesthetic or accident could mean that you’re unable to tell people your wishes. It might even be considered that you don’t have the capacity needed to make decisions for yourself about your health or financial position.
You could also find that those closest to you are affected, not only by your condition, but also because they are unable to continue to run your business or access funds in a joint account, for example.
It’s also a common misconception that your relatives or partner can make decisions about your wellbeing, such as whether to proceed with surgery. In fact, these decisions could be taken out of their hands by medical professionals or the courts.
What is an LPA?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives another adult authority to make important decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to make them yourself (if you lose capacity). Once you have lost capacity, you will not be able to make an LPA, which is why it’s important to think about it in advance.
For example, if you are diagnosed with dementia, you might want to create LPAs that make your wishes for the future clear. You could include your husband, wife and children or close friends, as long as they’re over 18. You can choose more than one person and decide whether they must act together or separately. You can also appoint a replacement in case the person you choose first is later unable to carry out their role.
The people you choose to make decisions on your behalf is known as ‘attorneys’. There are two types of LPA. One is for decisions about your property and finances and the other is about your health and welfare. You can choose whether you have the same of different people as your attorneys for each type.
Your LPAs must be signed and witnessed and can only be used when they have been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
I recommend LPAs so that you can be confident that your wishes are known and can be implemented. Please get in touch for an informal discussion.
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