A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to decide who you would like to deal with your affairs should anything happen to you whilst you are still alive. There are two different types of LPAs, one is in respect of Property and Financial Affairs and the other is in respect of Health and Welfare.
Kate Garaway’s husband, Derek Draper, suffered a year long battle with Covid which demonstrated the importance of preparing an LPA as most things, such as his car, insurance and bank accounts, were in Derek’s sole name therefore highlighting the legal complications that Kate experienced as she was not able to access these accounts. This inability to access his finances could have been avoided with the presence of an LPA.
Most people wrongfully assume that if they are the next of kin they are entitled to make care and medical decisions on behalf of their loved one. However this is not the case, a Health and Welfare LPA can grant you this authority provided the donor does not have capacity. Kate did not have the legal right to see Derek’s medical notes due to data protection.
If an LPA is not made, a Deputyship application can be made to the Court of Protection to deal with someone’s Property and Financial Affairs and/or Health and Welfare although the latter type are only granted in exceptional circumstances. This route is more expensive and can take a great deal longer to achieve by comparison to an LPA.
It’s important to plan ahead to make sure you are protected legally and that you are prepared for the worst case scenario. Accidents occur quickly and unexpectedly and the Office of the Public Guardian are currently taking up to 15 weeks to get an LPA registered therefore its best to start the process of creating your LPA now to get your affairs in order before it’s too late and the choice is taken away from you. Accidents can happen at all stages of life therefore, we would recommend you create an LPA regardless of how old or young you are.
If this is something you would like to discuss or if you would like to make an LPA please do not hesitate to contact our Private Client team.