Life is fragile but while we cannot always protect ourselves from accident or illness, we can help those we love from making difficult decisions on our behalf. Here Laura Harrington-Rutterford for Attwells Solicitors, one of the law firms involved in Will Aid, explains why setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney as part of your paperwork can bring peace of mind.
Will Aid Month is upon us and thousands of you are making appointments with solicitors like myself to draw up a will.
A will is a vital document which will help your family and friends follow your wishes when you are gone.
But while a will deals with your estate in death, Lasting Power of Attorney handles what happens to specific aspects of your financial affairs, health and welfare should you lose the capacity to do it for yourself.
Many people prepare an LPA at the same time as a will.
Take it seriously
The reason making an LPA is worth considering is that mental incapacity affects far more people than you might expect.
While a tragic accidents resulting in comas are rare, by 2025 more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Society.
One in five people over 85 already suffers from it, with rates significantly higher among women than men.
For someone in this condition, handling financial affairs becomes virtually impossible – which is why charities who care for the elderly recommend everyone plans ahead to ease the potential burden on relatives.
There are two different types of LPA`s:
1. Property & Finances
The LPA for property and financial affairs allows you to authorise another person to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your property and financial affairs and to generally manage your financial affairs. This might include:
· The buying and selling of property;
· The managing of various bank or building society accounts, stocks, shares and investments;
· The day to day management of your income and outgoings.
An attorney can do exactly what the donor can do providing they act in their best interests and the LPA doesn`t restrict certain activities.
2. Health & Welfare
Health and Welfare issues can be extremely vast but generally they deal with the following matters:
• Where the donor should live and who they should live with;
• Whether the donor should go into a nursing or residential home;
• Whether the donor should reside with a family member;
• Daily care including dietary specifics.
It also includes whether the donor would like the attorney to consent or refuse life sustaining treatment on the donor`s behalf.
Where there’s a will there’s a way
LPAs are legal documents that can be set up relatively cheaply with the help of a solicitor.
This is why lots of people arrange them at the same time as a will.
There are two parts to the process:
1. Completing the main forms which sets up the LPA
Although its recommended to complete both processes at the same time they can be done separately and there can be a large gap between the two.
Make a will with Will Aid
An LPA does not come as part and parcel of a basic will. It is something you can consider adding on.
But Will Aid is an excellent opportunity to consider this.
Will Aid started in 1988 and since then more than 300,000 people have made a will through the scheme which supports nine of the UK’s best-loved charities and has raised more than £17 million since it launched more than 25 years ago.