Anybody who arranges a will wants to take care of things for their loved ones, right? Do the right thing now in order to protect the family later …

So, how come so many people who have their will in order don’t have Lasting Power of Attorney?

It comes as a nasty shock to many that their affairs are not nearly as in order as they thought they were. Just because you’re married or in a civil partnership does not mean that your partner will automatically be able to make legal decision on your behalf should you be incapacitated.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s simple to arrange.

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.

If you haven’t arranged Lasting Power of Attorney, here’s why you should:

  • Your spouse or partner will not be able to access your assets or manage your financial affairs and welfare needs.
  • Your family would have to apply to the Court of Protection to nominate a ‘deputy’ – a stranger to take care of your paperwork. It’s an expensive process, and it will be up to them to secure your benefits, arrange appropriate care and access insurance payments or pension benefits.
  • At a time when you and your loved ones least need it, there’ll be a whole lot of paperwork, delays and stress to deal with.
  • The Court of Protection will monitor every penny you spend – which can make every transaction unnecessarily long and arduous. Your bank accounts and assets will be frozen.
  • If you have funds in a joint account with your partner, he/she won’t be able to access them because you are unable to attend the paperwork. Not to put too harsh a point on it, this stalemate situation will only be resolved on your death.

Not the happiest news you’ve read today, no doubt.

It’s one of those things that sounds like a complicated nightmare but isn’t, actually. Lasting Power of Attorney is just a signed document that allows someone who cares about you and who has your best interests at heart to step in and handle your financial, legal and health affairs if you ever find yourself unable to do so.

That’s one way of looking at it, anyway.

Consider this: if you DON’T arrange Lasting Power of Attorney, someone else will step in to control your affairs instead – someone other than your loved ones.

There are two types of LPA you should consider arranging: firstly, LPA for your financial decisions; secondly, LPA for your health and care decisions. Your Will Writer will be able to talk you through each. If they’re worth their salt, they’ll raise the Lasting Power of Attorney issue with you in any case.