Why Lasting Power of Attorney is More Important than a Will

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Most of adults have either sorted out a will already or are at least planning to do so. But how many people have a Lasting Power of Attorney set up to make sure their wishes are met should they become incapacitated and unable to make decisions about their welfare or finances themselves?

The fact is that having in place a Lasting Power of Attorney is just as, if not more important, as having a will in place.

The specialist team at Swansea Legal Solutions explains why.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

An LPA is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you are taken ill or are in an accident and cannot make your own decisions as you ‘lack mental capacity’. This is because if you lose mental capacity, without an LPA in place, your loved ones will need to apply through court to become a ‘deputy’, which can be a long and expensive process.

An LPA can be considered more important than having a will in place as these documents ensure your desires and wishes about your care and lifestyle are followed whilst you are still alive. They allow your attorneys to make decisions for you in the same way that you would have perhaps done so had you not lost capacity

Importantly, when making a Property and Financial LPA, people should be aware that, although they have appointed someone to look after their financial matters and welfare decisions, they do not have to hand over responsibility to their attorney immediately. The person setting up an LPA (known as the ‘donor’) is always in control of their own financial decisions unless they request their attorney to help them or if they lose mental capacity.

When it comes to a Health & Welfare LPA, this can only be used if the donor has lost mental capacity. This LPA will enable your attorney to make decisions about your health care and how you should be looked after, including decisions about any life-sustaining treatment decisions.”

Importance of an LPA – Case Study

The importance of making an LPA sooner rather than later was the key message from a BBC News article back in 2019.  In this article, the wife of a man who died in an electric skateboard crash spoke of the importance of a legal document that let him “die with dignity.

Her husband, Bradley Visser suffered a severe traumatic brain injury when he crashed near their Oxfordshire home. Previously, he had given wife Annie Visser lasting power of attorney status in the event of such a situation. She said the document showed he did not want to live with brain damage and had been more important than a will.

Mrs Vissers stated that “If he couldn’t be a daddy, if he couldn’t go to a rugby match, if he couldn’t provide for his family by working, and if he couldn’t be physically active, he didn’t want to be here. The lasting power of attorney meant she could present the hospital with a legal document stipulating his wishes, and had the power to make life decisions for her husband instead of the hospital.” Read full article here.

Sort out Your LPA today

People shouldn’t delay in getting an LPA in place no matter their age or physical health. If it’s left too late, then a Court of Protection application will need to be made which is more time consuming and involves a lot more costs – with the outcome not necessarily guaranteed.

Most importantly, anyone over the age of 60 should consider putting Lasting Powers of Attorneys in place. Also, anyone younger with a family history of dementia should also put an LPA in place so that they and their family have peace of mind knowing they will be taken care of by people that they trust and in line with their wishes.

If you would like to learn more about putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, please book an appointment with a member of specialist team by calling us today on 01792 420844. You can also find out more about this service here.

Please note, we also offer appointments in your own home subject to terms and conditions.