12 May 2023 by

Am I too young to make Lasting Powers of Attorney?

One misconception about Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) is that they are only necessary for later life. This is simply not true. If you had an unfortunate accident or an unexpected illness which impacted your ability to make decisions, those who you would wish to make decisions on your behalf would be unable to do so (without an LPA in place). Your family would not be automatically entitled to make decisions on your behalf. They would have no legal authority to manage your finances or make decisions about your health care.

 

Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney

There are two types of LPA – one that deals with Property and Financial Affairs and one that deals with Health and Welfare.

An LPA for Property and Financial Affairs will allow your attorneys to make decisions about your finances, such as managing your bank accounts, buying and selling a property, managing your investments and paying bills.

An LPA for Health and Welfare will allow your attorneys to make decisions about where you should live, what foods you should eat (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, halal or kosher), who you should have contact with and your medical care. The authority under a Health and Welfare LPA even extends to cover whether or not you should receive life sustaining treatment.

 

Making Lasting Powers of Attorney

You might think “I’m fine now, so this is something I can worry about in the future”.

In order for an LPA to be valid, the donor must have mental capacity at the time the LPA is made. Once you lose mental capacity, it is too late – you will not be able to make an LPA. Without an LPA in place, those who you wish to make decisions on your behalf may have to apply for a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection. This is a costly and lengthy procedure, especially compared to the simple process of creating and registering an LPA. Having LPAs in place as a precautionary measure offers you and your family peace of mind, should the unexpected happen.

LPAs currently take around 20 weeks to register and are valid indefinitely, unless the donor revokes the LPA or passes away. You can appoint anyone over the age of 18 to be an attorney. However, it is essential that your attorneys are people you trust to make decisions in your best interests.

Creating an LPA for both Health and Welfare and Property and Financial Affairs is a simple process and, once in place, provides long-term peace of mind. We recommend that everyone has an LPA in place, no matter their age. If you would like to create an LPA, our Wealth and Estate Planning team are here to help.

 

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