What can happen without a lasting power of attorney?
A lasting power of attorney, or an LPA, enables you to select a person to make key decisions for you regarding important elements of your life, such as welfare, health, business affairs and property, if you become incapacitated and can no longer manage such matters yourself.
While writing a will is a common practice for many people who see death as a certainty, fewer individuals consider the impact on their circumstances should they lose capacity from an accident or dementia.
Current estimates indicate around two million people in the country are lacking in mental capacity, and although dementia awareness has risen, many individuals have still not established an LPA.
Losing capacity without an LPA can have serious ramifications for your personal welfare, including medical care and living situation. With no LPA set up, either an individual appointed by the government or a healthcare professional will make decisions with your best interests in mind. Your property and affairs will be frozen, and personal investments and accounts will be inaccessible.
The UK’s Court of Protection has the authority to appoint an acting Deputy for those with diminished capacity. There are two types – a Deputy for Welfare and a Deputy for Property and Affairs. Although the Deputy will be overseen by the Office of the Public Guardian, it may not be someone you would have chosen yourself.
To ensure someone you trust takes charge of your life if you lose capacity, setting up an LPA is essential. It can also ensure your assets are not frozen, and that those who depend on you are taken care of.