We are often called upon to provide advice and assistance in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) for our clients. There are two types of LPAs – one for property and finances and the other for health and welfare. These documents last beyond mental incapacity and provide invaluable assistance in what can be a very difficult time for both the client and their family.
Although the majority of LPAs are used when clients reach old age, this is not always the case and they can be beneficial in the event of unexpected illness or trauma. By organizing an LPA whilst fully able to decide who is to be trusted to act as attorney our clients have the comfort and assurance of knowing that, if needed, the individuals they have appointed will help and deal with their affairs. The other side of the coin is if no LPA is in place but an individual loses capacity a lengthy and costly application to the Court of Protection is required to deal with their affairs.
In order to be used LPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Unfortunately, as with many government departments currently, there are significant delays and short staffing. Our experience is that, on average, the turnaround time for registration is around 20 weeks, which is far too long if a loved one loses capacity in this time period and requires assistance.
Our strongest recommendation, given the delays, is that LPAs are set up as soon as possible and we will ensure your application is correct on the first occasion it is submitted in order to avoid any further significant delays.
Too many people think is is too early to worry about formalities such as LPAs, unfortunately the reality is that it is never too early and so early planning is key to avoiding difficulties later on.
Contact a member of the Private Client team at Edward Harte to discuss further.