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Why its important to consider drawing up a Lasting Powers of Attorney

It is just over four years since, to the dismay of many, Enduring Powers of Attorney (‘EPA’) were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (‘LPA’). Since 1 October 2007, it has been possible to create both a Property and Affairs LPA (which relates to an individual’s financial affairs and so is similar in scope to an EPA) and a Personal Welfare LPA (relating to an individual’s health and welfare). It is fair to say that LPAs were viewed with great suspicion to start with, primarily due to their quite considerable length (they were on average 30 pages long) and perceived associated cost and as such many people chose not to sign a LPA when making a will.

However, the Office of the Public Guardian did listen to concerns about LPAs and introduced a new streamlined version of the form. Individuals have become more familiar with them and the new role of certificate provider has proved relatively straightforward to fulfill. This means that an LPA need not be expensive nor complicated and should form an integral part of an estate plan as an EPA did previously.  An LPA should be considered when looking at estate planning. With medical advances, people are living longer which has led to an increase in people who are mentally incapable of managing their own affairs, be it through illness, accident or simple longevity. A normal power of attorney is revoked automatically by the loss of mental capacity and although it is possible for the Court of Protection to appoint someone to manage their affairs, this can be a time consuming and inflexible process. By putting an LPA into place now, an individual will have the right to  choose who will act on their behalf, so as to ensure that the most appropriate person is the one who has responsibility for them.

LPAs are much more flexible than EPAs and enable the appointment of a combination of attorneys who can then act in relation to certain aspects of an individual’s affairs, be it together or together and separately. This means that itis possible to ensure that the right people (say, in the case of a business) are given the right powers, whilst not having any more powers than they need. It is possible to include restrictions on when an LPA can be used (one can specify that a Property and Affairs LPA can only be used when capacity has been lost) and to tailor it exactly to specific requirements.

For more information on Wills, Probate and Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact Leon Kaye Solicitors on tel. 0207 228 2020 or email them at info@leonkaye.co.uk.