Protecting Your Health Future: Why You Need a Lasting Power of Attorney

Despite the reluctance many have to prepare for future illness or death, it’s important to do so in order to save your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions about your life without your input. In this article, I will explore these reasons.

It’s not always easy to think about the future, especially when it comes to our health and personal well-being. However, planning ahead is crucial.

One of the most effective ways to ensure your wishes are respected is by setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA). This legal document allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so.

In this article, I will explore what an LPA is, and the key reasons to look into sorting one out. Take a look.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An LPA is a legal instrument that lets you (the donor) appoint one or more individuals to help you make decisions or to make them on your behalf. This can be particularly important if, due to illness or accident, you lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions. There are two types of LPAs:

  1. Health and Welfare LPA: this allows someone to make decisions about your daily routine, medical care, life-sustaining treatment, and more.
  2. Property and Financial Affairs LPA: this allows someone to manage your finances, including paying bills, collecting benefits, and selling your home if necessary.

Why You Should Consider a Lasting Power of Attorney

Ensuring Your Wishes Are Honoured

One of the primary reasons to set up an LPA is to ensure your personal and health-related wishes are respected. Without an LPA, your family might face complex and lengthy court proceedings to obtain the right to make decisions on your behalf. By preparing an LPA, you can specify your preferences and appoint someone you trust to uphold them.

Preventing Family Disputes

Family members may not always agree on the best course of action when it comes to your health and welfare. An LPA can mitigate the risk of disputes by clearly outlining who has the authority to make decisions. This clarity can help maintain family harmony during what could be a stressful and emotional time.

Making Financial Management Simpler

An LPA for Property and Financial Affairs can be invaluable for managing your finances effectively. Your appointed attorney can handle tasks such as paying bills, managing investments, and even selling property if required. This ensures that your financial affairs are in good hands and can relieve you and your family of significant burdens.

Peace of Mind

Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

Knowing that you have a plan in place for the future provides significant peace of mind. An LPA ensures that the people you trust are in charge of your affairs, reducing the worry and stress associated with unforeseen health issues. This peace of mind extends to your loved ones as well, who can feel reassured that your wishes will be followed.

How to Set Up a Lasting Power of Attorney

Setting up an LPA involves several steps, but the process is straightforward and can be completed with careful planning:

  • Choose Your Attorney(s): select one or more people you trust to make decisions on your behalf. You can appoint different attorneys for your health and financial affairs, depending on their strengths and your needs.
  • Complete the Forms: the LPA forms are available online or through solicitors. You will need to fill out these forms, detailing your preferences and the scope of the attorney’s powers.
  • Sign and Witness: the forms must be signed by you, your attorneys, and witnesses. This step ensures the document’s legality and authenticity.
  • Register with the Office of the Public Guardian: the final step involves registering your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. This process can take several weeks, so it is advisable to complete it well in advance of when the LPA might be needed.

For detailed instructions and forms, you can visit the relevant government website which provides comprehensive guidance on setting up an LPA.

Common Misconceptions About Lasting Power of Attorney

It’s Only for the Elderly

One common misconception is that LPAs are only necessary for the elderly. In reality, accidents or illnesses can happen to anyone at any age. Therefore, having an LPA is a wise precaution for all adults, providing protection against unforeseen circumstances.

You Lose Control

Another myth is that setting up an LPA means immediately losing control over your affairs. In fact, an LPA only comes into effect if you lose the capacity to make decisions yourself. Until then, you retain full control, and the LPA serves as a safety net.

Family Will Automatically Take Care of Everything

Many people assume that their family will automatically be able to make decisions for them if they become incapacitated. However, without an LPA, family members may need to go through a lengthy and expensive court process to obtain the authority to act on your behalf. An LPA simplifies this significantly.

LPAs Help You to Prepare for Any Eventuality

Preparing for the future is not always easy, but establishing a lasting power of attorney is a crucial step in protecting your health and well-being. It ensures your wishes are respected, prevents potential family disputes, and provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Whether you are young or old, having an LPA is a prudent precaution against life’s uncertainties.

To understand more about the broader implications and benefits of an LPA, consider reading additional information on the Wikipedia page dedicated to lasting power of attorney or explore resources provided by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained LPA professional. Be sure to consult a LPA professional if you’re seeking advice about setting up Lasting Power of Attorney. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *