Can you be too young for Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Our advice would be to make LPAs as soon as you are on the property ladder or have other assets in your name (such as a business or a bank account). Lasting Powers of Attorney can be revoked (cancelled) and replaced, so if your life changes, these essential protections can also be changed.
You may not yet know who would look after your affairs if you were unable to do so, you may not yet have met your life partner, you may have no immediate family, you may be fully occupied with your business, or you may feel that the chance of you having a life-changing accident is too remote to worry about. You may think that LPAs are just for the retired and elderly. Cost might be a big factor in your decision to delay.
Here are our top 10 reasons NOT to delay:
1. Accidents happen to the young and the old
With advancements in medicine, the average life expectancy in the UK is on the increase. However, with increasing life expectancy comes an increase in the number of cases of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, by 2025 more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia. As with any mentally debilitating illness, it can become difficult to manage your own affairs. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) while you can, puts you back in control.
2. As we live longer, incapacity issues will increase
Mental capacity is not just an issue for the elderly. We may think that we are indestructible and that death and illness come later in life. In reality, accidents are unpredictable and can happen at any time. An accident may result in losing your capacity or being unable to deal with your affairs. The precautionary step of putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney means your family will be able to make important decisions on your behalf. If not, then those closest to you may have to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to manage your affairs. Inevitably, this will be costly and time consuming.
3. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney puts you in control
Many people assume that losing capacity means losing control. However, if you have already foreseen the risk and decided who you wish to appoint to deal with your financial and health affairs, you will have set out those aspects of your life that are important to you – in effect you have passed your control over to those you trust.
4. Lasting Powers of Attorney are powerful!
A Lasting Power of Attorney gives an attorney the legal authority to manage a person’s property and financial affairs and decisions regarding their health and welfare. These documents are designed to be recognised and accepted by all financial institutions and medical practitioners within England and Wales. If your documents are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, any organisation receiving a Lasting Power of Attorney from an attorney should accept it as the attorney’s authority to act in relation to your affairs.
5. Lasting Power of Attorney protect your personal interests
Shouldn’t you decide who has the authority to deal with your financial affairs? If you do not make a Lasting Power of Attorney, then someone who you would not want to make decisions on your behalf could apply to court to become your deputy. Whilst the court will make every effort to ensure it appoints the right person, this may differ with your own views. Lasting Powers of Attorney remove that element of risk.
6. Lasting Powers of Attorney have inbuilt checks and balances
Appointing someone as your attorney does not give them the authority to do as they wish. An attorney is under a legal duty (set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005) to act in your best interests – not their own. If there are concerns regarding the conduct of an attorney, this should be reported to the Office of the Public Guardian who will investigate further and ultimately can remove an attorney if necessary. Whilst an attorney has the same powers as you have today when dealing with your affairs, they have to act in your best interests and there are restrictions on the decisions that they can make – these protect you from financial harm.
7. Lasting Powers of Attorney are like insurance against a life-changing event
We routinely insure the things that matter to us the most – ourselves when we travel, our homes, cars and other valuable possessions. Lasting Powers of Attorney should be considered in the same way. We hope that they will never be needed but if the worst happens, they are there ready to be used when you and your family need them the most.
8. Lasting Powers of Attorney are essential for directors and business owners
Lasting Powers of Attorney can protect your business. It is possible to make a property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney for your personal assets and a separate LPA for your business assets. This will ensure your business continues with minimal disruption. Legal advice is essential when considering Lasting Powers of Attorney for business interests.
9. Deputyship applications are more expensive than making a Lasting Power of Attorney
The (2019) registration fee for a pair of Lasting Powers of Attorney is £164 (or £82 for low incomes). You could expect to spend in the region of £3,000 for a deputyship application to cover professional fees and court costs and there are ongoing annual costs. Fees for making your two Lasting Powers of Attorney (Carisma Wills 2019/2020) are just £350 per person.
10. Satisfaction and peace of mind
Make Lasting Powers of Attorney the next thing you tick off your to-do list. Once registered and safely stored, you can carry on with life knowing your financial and health affairs are in order should there come a time when you can no longer make important decisions yourself.
If you would like help with any aspect of Lasting Powers of Attorney, or simply need more information before you go ahead, please get in touch.