News Article


Unlocking the Power of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

In an ever-changing world, it’s crucial to plan ahead, especially when it comes to managing your affairs in the event of incapacity.   Physical or mental incapacity can happen to anybody at any time, whether because of an illness, such as a stroke, an accident or a condition, such as dementia.

In the event that you become incapacitated you may not be able to handle your own affairs, but it is possible to take action to ensure that somebody you trust can make those decisions on your behalf, if necessary.

One of the most effective tools for this purpose is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). At DSM Legal Solicitors, we understand the importance of safeguarding your interests, and an LPA serves to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your affairs managed smoothly if you become incapable of making those decisions yourself.   

The benefits that an LPA offers include:

  1. Empowering Decision Making

An LPA empowers you to choose trusted individuals who can make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so due to physical or mental incapacity.  They are known as Attorneys.   Usually this will be a close family member or members.  An LPA ensures the Attorneys you have appointed will be able to manage your affairs according to your wishes, sparing your loved ones potential legal complexities and uncertainties.  If you become mentally incapacitated and do not have an LPA in place the Court will appoint a Deputy to handle your affairs and it maybe someone that you yourself would not have chosen.

  1. Tailored Decision-Making Authority

With a Lasting Power of Attorney, you have the flexibility to specify the scope of authority granted to your chosen attorney(s). Whether it pertains to financial matters, health care decisions, or both, you can customise the LPA to align with your unique circumstances and preferences.  You can revoke and LPA if you change your mind, provided that you still have mental capacity.

  1. Peace of Mind for Loved Ones

By establishing a Lasting Power of Attorney, you provide your loved ones with peace of mind, knowing that clear instructions are in place for managing your affairs if you’re no longer able to do so. This can alleviate stress and prevent disputes among family members during challenging times.   An LPA is also far more cost effective than applying to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order and much, much quicker.

  1. Continuity of Financial Management

There are two types of LPA’s.   One type is a Financial and Property LPA. In the event of incapacity, having a Financial and Property LPA in place ensures continuity in managing your financial affairs.  Your appointed attorney can, for example, handle tasks such as paying bills, managing investments, and accessing bank accounts, thereby safeguarding your financial interests and ensuring ongoing financial stability.   

Problems can occur if bills are not paid but banks and financial institutions will usually refuse to speak to anybody who is not the account holder which can cause problems if you become incapacitated and are unable to speak to the bank yourself.

  1. Access to Vital Healthcare Decisions

A health and welfare LPA grants your chosen attorney the authority to make important medical decisions on your behalf. This includes decisions regarding medical treatment, care arrangements, and end-of-life care preferences. By nominating a trusted individual, you ensure that your healthcare preferences are known to third parties, such as doctors and other medical professionals, even if you are unable to communicate them yourself.  You can tailor the LPA by including instructions and/or preferences for your Attorney to follow.  You will have the peace of mind of knowing that your Attorney has a duty to always act in your best interests and to follow your wishes.

  1. Avoiding Court Intervention

Without an LPA in place, the process of managing your affairs in the event of incapacity can be complex and time-consuming, often requiring court intervention through deputyship proceedings. By proactively establishing an LPA, you can avoid the need for costly and intrusive court proceedings, streamlining the process for your loved ones.  In that respect an LPA is similar to an insurance policy – you may never need it but if you do you will be glad it’s there!

Unlike an insurance policy for which there is an annual premium, with an LPA there is just a one-off cost.

  1. Cost-Effective Planning

Creating an LPA is a cost-effective way to plan for the future. Compared to the expenses associated with court-appointed deputies or guardianship proceedings, the upfront costs of establishing an LPA are minimal.   This makes it an accessible option for individuals seeking to protect their interests and assets.

You will need a Certificate Provider to confirm that you have mental capacity.  This can be a professional, such as a doctor or solicitor or someone who has known you for at least two years.  This role carries a heavy responsibility as if any doubts later arise or any objections are made to the LPA by a third party the Certificate Provider may be called upon to give evidence in an investigation by the Office of the Public Guardian or at Court.  

For this reason it is best to have a solicitor draft the LPA who will also act as the Certificate Provider.  If there is any doubt about mental capacity we will obtain the necessary evidence prior to an LPA being registered.

  1. Preserve Dignity and Autonomy

An LPA allows you to maintain a sense of dignity and autonomy even in challenging circumstances. By selecting trusted individuals to act as your attorneys, you retain control over who makes decisions on your behalf, preserving your autonomy and ensuring that your wishes are respected.

It is important to note that an LPA cannot be taken out once you lose mental capacity and we see many cases where the decision to take out an LPA has been left too late. 

Many people still have mental capacity in the early stages of dementia but it is important to act as soon as possible if you wish to take out an LPA as the condition can deteriorate quickly.

 In summary, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a powerful legal instrument that offers numerous benefits, including empowering decision-making, providing peace of mind for loved ones, ensuring continuity of financial management, and avoiding costly court interventions. At DSM Legal Solicitors, we are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of estate planning and safeguarding your interests for the future.

Contact us today to learn more about how an LPA can benefit you and your loved ones.