A will is a legally binding document that outlines the distribution of an individual’s assets after their demise. While it is crucial to create a will to ensure your possessions pass on to your loved ones as per your wishes, it is equally important to consider scenarios where you may lose decision-making capabilities while still being alive. In such cases, having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place is essential.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint an individual or a group of people, known as attorneys, to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. The inability could be due to mental incapacity, severe illness or an accident. In England and Wales, there are two types of LPAs: Property and Financial Affairs LPA, and Health and Welfare LPA.
It is crucial to understand that your will and your LPA are two separate documents. The decisions related to your finances and personal welfare should be made in your best interest before you lose the mental capacity to do so.
At Sovereign Planning, we offer professional will writing services, LPAs and Trusts tailored to your specific needs. In the following sections, we will discuss the process of creating an LPA, the role of your attorney, and how our expertise can guide you in safeguarding your future.
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Understanding the Lasting Power of Attorney
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorney to manage your finances such as paying bills, selling property, and managing bank accounts. In contrast, a Health and Welfare LPA encompasses making decisions about medical treatments, care provisions, and daily routines when you cannot. Both types are equally crucial, as they ensure your finances and wellbeing are taken care of according to your wishes if you become incapable of making decisions on your own.
Including LPAs with your will can offer peace of mind, security, and control over your life’s most important aspects. It ensures that your loved ones are not burdened during trying times when life-changing decisions have to be made in a timely manner. In addition, having an LPA in place allows you to decide who will manage your affairs instead of leaving it to chance or court appointments. In this article, we will discuss the importance of an LPA, its types, benefits, and what makes it an indispensable part of will writing services in England and Wales.
The Process of Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney
Creating an LPA is a crucial step in safeguarding your family’s future; it is essential to ensure that the procedure is carried out correctly and comprehensively. Here are the key stages in establishing an LPA:
1. Choose Your Attorney(s): Thoughtfully decide who you trust to make the best decisions on your behalf when you cannot. You can appoint a close friend, family member, or professional advisor as your attorney. It is advisable to appoint more than one attorney and also name replacement attorneys to ensure a smooth process in case one of the primary attorneys is unable to fulfill their role.
2. Complete LPA Forms: The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) provides separate forms for Property and Financial Affairs LPA and Health and Welfare LPA. It is crucial to carefully fill in these forms, outlining your specific requirements and wishes.
3. Get a Certificate Provider: A certificate provider is an independent third party who confirms that you understand the implications of the LPA, and you are not under any duress or influence to create it. The certificate provider can be a professional, such as a solicitor or doctor, or a close friend who has known you for at least two years.
4. Sign the Forms: The LPA documents must be signed by you, your attorney(s), and the certificate provider in the presence of a witness.
5. Register the LPA: The LPA must be registered with the OPG before it can be used. There is a registration fee for each LPA, and the registration process takes around ten weeks.
The Role of Your Attorney in a Lasting Power of Attorney
The appointed attorney(s) play a critical role in ensuring that your LPA is executed in accordance with your wishes, particularly during challenging times. The attorney is responsible for:
1. Acting in Your Best Interest: The attorney must always make decisions that are in your best interest, considering your past and present wishes.
2. Maintaining Confidentiality: Your attorney is legally obliged to protect your privacy and keep your financial and personal information confidential.
3. Keeping Records: The attorney should maintain accurate and comprehensive records of their actions and decisions taken on your behalf, including financial transactions.
4. Working with Other Attorneys: If you have appointed multiple attorneys, they can either make decisions jointly or act independently depending on your instructions. Your attorneys must cooperate with each other and resolve any disagreements amicably and professionally.
The Benefits of Professional LPA Services
Seeking professional LPA services helps you ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of your LPA. Here are the significant advantages of engaging with professionals like Sovereign Planning:
1. Expert Guidance: Qualified advisors have in-depth knowledge of LPAs and guide you through the entire process, from selecting the right type of LPA to making essential decisions regarding attorneys and stipulations.
2. Avoiding Errors: Professional services ensure the correct completion of legal forms and prevent common errors that could result in the LPA being rejected or deemed invalid.
3. Tailoring to Your Needs: Experts understand that every individual’s circumstances and requirements are different. Therefore, they provide tailored advice to create an LPA that fully reflects your unique needs.
4. Ongoing Support: Professional LPA providers offer ongoing support and advice throughout the registration process, addressing any concerns you may have.
Incorporating LPAs into Your Estate Planning
Integrating LPAs into your estate planning is essential and complementary to creating a will. While a will safeguards your loved ones by detailing asset distribution after you pass away, an LPA ensures that your financial and welfare affairs are handled effectively during your lifetime, should your decision-making capacity be compromised.
Incorporating both an LPA and a will as part of your estate planning provides complete protection, ensures you have peace of mind, and secures the futures of you and your loved ones.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a vital instrument in protecting your financial and personal wellbeing when you are unable to manage your affairs. By appointing trusted individuals to make critical decisions, you can have complete confidence that your needs will be met even during challenging times. Combined with a comprehensive will, an LPA offers full assurance for you and your loved ones.
At Sovereign Planning, we are committed to providing professional will writing services, LPAs and trusts that cater to your specific requirements. Our experts guide you every step of the way, ensuring you have a secure and protected future. Start safeguarding your future and your loved ones’ wellbeing. Contact us today for a consultation!