Legal Power of Attorney can be more important than a will, says lawyer
Getting the right legal documents in place sooner rather than later can avoid a lot of stress and heartache if a family member loses mental capacity due to dementia, illness or an accident.
Aimee Johnson, a private client solicitor at Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors in Shrewsbury, says arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a vital step for everyone to take - regardless of their age or situation.
She said: “They are often something people put off until they are “old” or wait until they become ill but having an LPA in place can be more important than having a will, and can avoid a great deal of stress and heartache especially in the event someone unexpectedly loses mental capacity.
“It enables your to nominate someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the ability to do so, perhaps through dementia or from suffering an accident.
“A Property and Financial LPA allows the attorney to assist the donor with their property and finances, and there is the option for a Property and Financial LPA to be used as soon as it has been registered.
“This provides the most flexibility as it allows the attorney to assist the donor whilst the donor still has mental capacity, for example if the donor may be suffering from mobility issues that prevents them going to the bank in person. Although it’s important to note that the attorney can only act with the donor’s consent.
“People assume that if they have joint bank accounts then they do not need a Property and Financial LPA. However, if a bank finds out one of the account holders of a joint account has lost mental capacity, then the bank can freeze the account, which can be a complete nightmare for obvious reasons. Having a Property and Financial LPA in place avoids this.
“A Health and Welfare LPA could be needed immediately in the event of a medical emergency to allow your attorney to make decisions on your behalf. It is also important that you register your Health and Welfare LPA with your GP and any other medical professionals so they are aware of its existence ahead of time.
“Just as writing a will can seem like a difficult task, putting an LPA in place can actually be a big weight off your shoulders as it means you can feel confident that your wishes will be followed even if your life is changed through illness or injury.”
Aimee Johnson joined Lanyon Bowdler’s private client team at the end of 2022 as the team expanded to meet growing demand in Shropshire.
For more advice about LPAs, contact Aimee on 01743 282348 or visit the website at lblaw.co.uk