LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY: a legal document which allows Person A to look after Person B’s affairs should Person B ever be unable to. Person A is nominated by Person B to do so.

It’s not a nice scenario to picture, but it can happen to any of us; losing testamentary capacity. This means you can no longer reliably make your own decisions, and can be caused by a number of factors; mental degradation through an illness like dementia, for example, or by falling into a coma. In these cases and others, you are unable to handle your own affairs- but bills will still mount up, and payments will still have to be made. What if you run a business? What will happen to it?

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You may have somebody in mind that would run your affairs for you should the worst happen; in most cases, a spouse or other close relative or friend. What you may be surprised to learn is that, should you lose capacity, this person would have absolutely no legal right to take over your affairs- even  if you’re directly related or married.

Without an LPA, the Court of Protection will get involved. They will arrange to have a deputy appointed; this could be somebody close to you, but it may be a complete stranger. This stranger would then be solely responsible for handling important decisions about your health, welfare and finance.

Court of Protection fees can be greatly expensive, and the decision making process can be costly and lengthy. This can be extremely difficult for families already going through a difficult time.

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LPAs remove the need for the CoP to get involved, and streamline the process significantly. Your attorney can obtain control of your affairs immediately, allowing your family to focus on you and your wellbeing rather than court fees.

Accord Legal Services offer both Health and Welfare and Property and Finance LPAs. The former allows an attorney to make decisions regarding your health, such as whether or not to accept certain medical treatments and which care home you would go to should the need arise. The latter allows your attorney access to your accounts, which allows them to pay bills, make investments, clear debts and so on.

Accord also offer Business LPAs; this is an LPA for business owners who would need somebody to look after their business if they were unable to.  Speak to us for more details if this applies to you.

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So, to sum up, LPAs are essentially just as important as your Will, in that they protect you and your possessions whilst you are still alive. Without it, your family could suffer weeks, months or years of heartache trying to resolve your affairs. Save them the hassle and give yourself peace of mind- make an LPA today.

For more information on LPAs or to book a free home consultation, call Accord on 01744 807048.

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