“I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney because…”

Starting a sentence with these words fill me with dread. It amazes me that there are so many common misconceptions surrounding later life planning, we’d rather avoid it altogether than prepare correctly for it.

Here are some of the reasons why people have told me they don’t think they need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) over the past few months – and an explanation as to why you still do need one!

“…my spouse or civil partner can take care of things for me.”

This is the most common myth that I come across almost daily. But sadly, by the time I hear about it, it’s too late, because families have not planned well enough when a loved one becomes unwell.

According to a recent article in the Times, 60% of people aged over 75 do not have an LPA – a document that enables a trusted individual (a donee) to step in and legally act on your behalf if you lose the mental capability to do so yourself.

There are two types of LPA – financial and medical. The former allows the donee to access your bank account and pay for bills, rent or other payments on your behalf and the latter allows the trusted person to make decisions on your behalf about any specific medical treatment you may wish to receive while in care or in hospital.

Without an LPA, your loved ones and your family – and yes that includes spouses, or civil partner and children – cannot act or honour your wishes.

“…I don’t have any assets for anyone to take care of.”

As we have already mentioned, there are two types of LPA, medical and financial – and you can have either one or both. If you wish to receive specific medical treatment, these are all outlined in your medical LPA, and financial LPAs do not just cover mortgage payments.

You probably have more things to take care of than you realise. Have you got a mobile phone contract (link to: https://www.downslaw.co.uk/blog/qa-why-is-my-mothers-mobile-phone-company-holding-her-to-ransom/)? Or a supermarket shopping delivery account (link to: https://www.downslaw.co.uk/blog/its-time-to-cry-over-spilt-milk-or-gin/)? Perhaps a subscription to Netflix, Amazon or a direct debit payment to the National Lottery? These will all require someone to access those accounts and legally act on your behalf to prevent you making unnecessary payments, or to close those accounts if you are unable to do so.

“…I am too young.”

A very common misconception is that registering an LPA is connected to age and that simply isn’t true. If covid taught us anything, it’s that illness can strike anyone at any age at any time – so, in fact, the earlier you register an LPA, the better!

We reported (link to: https://www.downslaw.co.uk/blog/did-you-know-there-is-a-20-week-wait-to-register-a-lasting-power-of-attorney/) how we were seeing an average of a 20-week wait to register LPAs with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The long wait was due to a backlog, which began during covid and was struggling to clear. In 2022 there were 771,822 LPAs waiting to be registered, up 9% from 2021.

To make matters worse, many people’s applications were being returned for small errors, leading to even longer waits.

You can only imagine how stressful this can be when you need that LPA so that you can make a rent payment for mum or dad. Even things like cancelling subscriptions or protecting them from fraud (link to: https://www.downslaw.co.uk/blog/a-lasting-power-of-attorney-could-help-protect-the-elderly-and-vulnerable-against-fraud/) – without an LPA you cannot act and 20 weeks is a long time to wait when every minute counts.

If you want to, you can write and register your LPA when you’re still in your 20s. Simply do it, and put it in a draw as you never know when you might need it (link to: https://www.downslaw.co.uk/blog/the-most-loving-thing-you-can-do-is-prepare-for-the-worst-regardless-of-your-financial-situation/) . It can perhaps be like taking out an insurance cover for your home or car. A premium worth paying for a piece of mind.

Without an LPA, it can prove to be costly and cumbersome to manage your affairs. An LPA streamlines your affairs in a cost-effective manner.

If you would like any advice relating to your situation, or drafting a will or LPA, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Mehboob Dharamsi

Mehboob Dharamsi


Tel: +44 (0) 1932 588579

Office: Cobham Office

Email: [email protected]