Time to think proactively about later life

No one likes to think about getting old, or even what would happen to our family’s wellbeing and personal finances if we weren’t here. However, now is as good a time as any to be thinking about it, as yesterday, Sunday 9 September, marked Grandparents Day.

What is an LPA?
A lasting power of attorney, or LPA, is a document that allows you to nominate someone to legally make decisions on your behalf if you lose the mental capacity to do so. This nominated person is called an attorney.

There are two types of LPA. One relates to your financial decisions and the second is regarding any healthcare choices you may wish to make. The first enables your attorney to access your bank account and, more importantly, can spend your money on your behalf to pay rent or bills. Therefore, it is important you choose someone you know and trust.

If you have an LPA that relates to any later life care you may wish to have, this can include everything from where you wish to live and what you should eat, to any particular medical treatment or social activities you might want to take part in. Again, it is important you choose someone who knows you well. They can then make more informed decisions on your behalf, and you can trust them to carry out your wishes if you are unable to do so yourself.

Don’t assume
Fortunately the number of people registering an LPA has reach an all-time high. Plus, it looks as though the average age of an individual registering an LPA is falling – so not only are more people now understanding the importance of having an LPA, they are planning further ahead too.

However, don’t assume that any spouse or civil partner will automatically be able to deal with any finances, or make decisions about healthcare. This is not the case and without an LPA they will not have any legal right.

Where there’s a will
Whilst making your LPA, you should also give some thought to a will. You may need to update your will if you have re-married, or if you’ve had more children. It is always a good idea to revisit your will as a matter of course, because if it is out of date, it could mean costly legal battles for your family.

According to recent research, around 60% of adults still have no will at all. If you don’t make a will, you would die intestate and your estate will not necessarily be distributed according to your wishes. It is a good idea to have an up-to-date will and you can speak to a lawyer who will be able to offer the right advice.

The Private Client team at Downs Solicitors can help with any queries relating to LPAs, wills or other family disputes. Contact us to see how we can help.