While an estimated 40 per cent of people reading this have made a will, fewer than one per cent will have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
In fact 45 per cent of people aged over 45 don’t even know what one is! But making an LPA, a legal document that allows people to make decisions on your behalf if you can’t, is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Margaret Rowe, a Partner in the Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning team at Shropshire law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, explains why an LPA should be on the top of your to-do list:
“There’s a common misconception that LPAs are only useful for people in old age but in reality, anyone needs an LPA even if you’re fighting fit, as you never know when that could change. A Lasting Power of Attorney can make the difference at any age”
An LPA allows you to choose someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if something happens and you can’t make decisions for yourself. With one in three people likely to develop dementia, LPAs are becoming more common but you could need one whatever your age – if you had a car accident, a sudden brain injury or illness, someone needs to be able to take charge of your finances, pay your bills and look after your welfare."
And it could happen to you. Every 90 seconds someone is admitted to hospital in the UK with an acquired brain injury.
The late Superman actor Christopher Reeve became paralysed from the neck down following a horse-riding accident in 1995 when he was just 42.
Michael Schumacher, the seven time Formula 1 world champion, was 44 when a skiing accident left him paralysed in 2013.
But don’t be fooled into thinking LPAs are the sole preserve of the rich and famous. Without a Power of Attorney, if you lose your faculties – even temporarily - sorting your finances will be even harder than if you have died.
"A relative can’t just walk into a bank and access your money, not even if it is to pay your mortgage, bills or care. Registering an LPA doesn’t mean giving up control now as you can opt for it to come into effect if you're no longer capable. There are two kinds: one for health and welfare that gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf about your care and treatment if you’re ill, and property and financial. Attorneys can be the same for both or different and if you choose more than one attorney, you decide whether they can act together or separately.”
If you’d like to know more contact Margaret on 01952 208433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.