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The power of preparing for the worst

There’s no time like the present to set up a lasting power of attorney | Neil Shaw

There’s no time like the present to set up a lasting power of attorney says Neil Shaw, Head of Personal Law.

The start of spring is a time of optimism for many - a time to plan for the year ahead. As lawyers, we want to help with this planning - tinged as always with realism around the 'what-if' questions.

We all want to live long and healthy lives and we wish the same for our loved ones. But sometimes the strength of this desire and our fear of the unknown can eclipse our inclination to consider the risks.

The hard truth is that accidents, physical ill-health and the onset of mental illness can and do happen, and may occur at any stage of our lives. Where this results in the loss of our faculties, the management of our affairs almost inevitably falls into the hands of those closest to us.

Why set up a lasting power of attorney?

Without a lasting power of attorney (LPA) in place, if you lose capacity your loved ones will need to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint someone as deputy – a lengthy, expensive and onerous process.

Take a moment to consider the emotional and financial impacts this could have on your loved ones at what is already a difficult and distressing time.

An LPA allows you to choose a person or persons to manage your affairs should you become unable to do so yourself. There are three main types, all of which can be tailored to your wishes and circumstances.

The first is a property and financial LPA, which can allow your attorneys to do things like operate your bank accounts, make investment decisions, sign tax returns, and purchase and sell property on your behalf.

The second is a health and welfare LPA, which would enable them to decide which care home you live in, give consent to medical procedures and authorise life sustaining treatment if you lost capacity to do so.

The third is a business LPA, which can help your business survive in your absence by allowing your attorneys to make decisions about things like contracts, finances, management and control. Without it the company bank account could be frozen, leaving the business unable to continue.

It is important to take time to consider the what-ifs. Being pragmatic and having plans in place can help us all move forward positively, knowing we’ve done everything we can to lessen the burden on our loved ones and our business if the worst does happen.

How can we help?

Neil Shaw is a solicitor with more than 30 years’ experience in advising on trusts, wills, and estate planning.

If you would like to set up a lasting power of attorney or require any other advice on these areas of the law, contact Neil on 0113 244 0876 or ku.oc1713661268.fcl@1713661268wahsn1713661268.

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Written by Neil Shaw