Why a Lasting Power of Attorney is important, whether young or old?1st October 2020
There is often a misconception about Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPA) being something you do only when you reach pension age, or older. This is far from ideal; as Covid-19 has recently shown us, anyone can be hit with a serious illness at any time, no matter their age. Additionally, accidents and mental health crises can happen at any age, not just sometime after you retire.
Have you ever thought about what medical and financial decisions you would like made on your behalf or who you would like to make them for you? By having a Power of Attorney in place, you are ensuring your wishes will be met as best as they can by someone you trust. Power of Attorney simply means giving someone you trust the authority to act on your behalf. This is often someone close to you who knows you very well and you trust to have your best interests at heart, such as your partner, sibling, adult child or close friend.
For this reason we recommend people to sign both a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, no matter your age.
Lasting Power of Attorneys for finance and health are done as two separate documents. There is an advantage to this as the people who will make the best job of looking after your financial matters may not be the same as those who you would like to make decisions about where you live and what care and medical treatment you need.
It is worth bearing in mind that if you were unable to make your own decisions as a result of mental health issues and you had no LPA in place, someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to make these decisions on your behalf. Similarly, those who do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare will have no one able to make decisions about their social and medical care until a Deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection. In the meantime, doctors and social workers have as much say in what care or medical treatment you receive as your spouse, partner or other close relatives.
If you already have LPAs in place, we recommend to review them regularly to ensure they are up to date. Over time your choice of attorneys may change for any number of reasons, and that change will only happen if you sign a new LPA.