The coronavirus outbreak was a stark reminder about how life can change in an instant. The sudden onset of the virus, its severity and its indiscriminate nature took everyone by surprise.
There’s a common misconception that if you’re taken ill, friends or family can make financial or other decisions for you but that’s not the case.
Kim Carr, Lead Partner of the Wills, Probate & Lifetime Planning Department, explains what you really need to do to protect yourself in this situation:
People often think that LPAs are something that older people should be thinking about in case of illness or the onset of dementia but coronavirus has changed that.
Planning ahead ensures you and your loved ones can retain control of decisions around your finances or medical and social care if there ever becomes a point when you can’t make your own wishes clear.
These can be uncomfortable conversations to have but, if coronavirus has shown us anything, any one of use could need an LPA at any time.
There are two different types of LPA – one allows you to give people the authority to make decisions about your property and financial affairs and the other would let them act on your behalf when it comes to health and welfare issues.
In each case you can have one or more attorneys. If you choose more than one attorney, you decide whether they can act together or separately. Attorneys can be the same for both LPAs or they can be different people.
If you own a business or are a sole trader or partnership, it’s possible to make a business LPA where you can appoint someone to look after your commercial interests, pay your company bills or take decisions about your company.
If you don’t have an LPA, decisions about your finances would pass to the Court of Protection and social services or medical professionals would make medical and care decisions for you leaving your family with no legal say.
In reality, everyone needs an LPA even if you’re fighting fit, as you never know when that could change as coronavirus has shown us. Often, by the time you need one, it’s too late.
An LPA can take around eight to 10 weeks to process from start to finish so it’s never too soon to start.
Kim became Lead Partner of the Wills, Probate & Lifetime Planning Department in April 2020, after 12 successful years as Managing Partner. Her areas of focus include the administration of estates, Lasting Powers of Attorney, living wills, and obtaining probate.
For help and advice on these issues Kim Carr will be able to help.