Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

  • 26th May 2020

Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), I am fit and healthy, I don’t need one.

We may be blessed with health, but this can change in a heartbeat as we have all come to experience during the coronavirus outbreak. The problem is, you may be fit and healthy today but you just do not know what is around the corner.

The coronavirus hit us so quickly, who could have prepared for it. Life is like that, full of unexpected events.

So why should you think about a Lasting Power of Attorney and what happens if you do not have one.

This is Alison’s story

At 70, my Dad lived on his own in a small flat in an over 60’s complex. He had a carer who visited every day to check on him, make him some breakfast and make sure he was looking after himself and taking his tablets. I would go once a week and do his shopping for him. Everything seemed perfectly fine. Then one day I had a call from the care company. My Dad’s health had taken a turn for the worse.

He was taken into hospital. We discovered that he had unstable type two diabetes. His readings were off the scale, he was so confused and with other underlying health issues, he was not in a good place. During his 6-7 week stay in hospital, myself, the nurses and doctors noticed that my Dad’s memory had become quite poor, he seemed very confused a lot of the time, unsure of where he was or where he used to live. The doctor’s ordered some tests and it was found that my Dad had the onset of dementia. Tests also identified that he had ‘lack of capacity’ to look after himself so was then discharged into a home.

With no lasting power of attorney in place, I spoke to a law firm who advised that I would need to apply to become Deputy through the Court of Protection to be able to deal with my Dad’s finances and health decisions on his behalf. This was a long drawn out process. In the meantime, I was unable to speak to his bank, or effectively deal with any of the financial matters that needed attending to. Not only was I concerned about my Dad’s deteriorating health, but I could not deal with any personal matters for him. There were outstanding bills from his flat that I could not pay which added to the worry.

Finally the Court of Protection was granted. I then had to go through the process of meeting with social care teams, financial meetings in terms of care costs, payments of outstanding bills, notification to all pension providers of change in status. I had to go to the bank to set myself up with access to his account to pay bills on his behalf, send documentation to pension providers etc. Whilst working full time, this was additional stress that was quite difficult at the time.

Not only that but now I have to keep detailed financial records and details of any decisions that I make on my Dad’s behalf in terms of his care. I have to submit a report to the Public Guardian every year, things that I was unaware that I would have to do. For any dependent, you cannot underestimate the personal pressure that this can put on you.

If we had a lasting power of attorney in place, this would have simply kicked into force and I would have been able to deal with everything straight away without the additional annual reporting burden and all the stress that went along with the Court of Protection route.

Therefore, I would strongly recommend that all families should have the conversation about creating a Lasting Power of Attorney. A small outlay now can offset a whole host of issues and stress. When a loved one becomes ill or loses capacity, it can be heart breaking. Having a plan in place to deal with the financial and health matters on their behalf will help to relieve that additional burden.

Take a look at our infographic to see the key differences between setting up a lasting power of attorney and a court of protection. CLICK HERE

Talk to our financial advisers today for guidance of setting up a lasting power of attorney for yourself or your loved ones. With specialists who understand the financial decisions that you need to make for later life, we will help to ensure your plans are in place to help meet your retirement needs.

Any news or resources within this section should not be relied upon with regards to figures or data referred to as legislative and policy changes may have occurred.

Information contained within this article is not a personal recommendation of Forrester Boyd Wealth Management. The wording in this article is not to be construed as an offer or advice. We recommend you seek advice concerning suitability from your investment adviser.