What happens if you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?

what happens if you don't have a lasting power of attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives those you trust the ability to make decisions on your behalf. It comes into force if you were to lose mental capacity, or you can use it to appoint someone to help you make decisions. So, what happens if you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place? We explore this topic in more detail.

“78% of UK adults have not registered a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)” – Canada Life

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

Lasting Power of Attorneys is an essential way to protect your finances, as well as your health and social care. When arranging this legal document you would appoint ‘attorneys’ to act on your behalf if you were to ever lose mental capacity. These people do not necessarily have to be family members, but they do need to be people you trust.

If you lost capacity and you didn’t have an LPA in place, then your loved ones would have to apply to the Court of Protection. The Court would then appoint a ‘deputy’ to take on this responsibility, and your family may not have any say in who this might be. It’s also a costly and time-consuming process, during what’s usually a very stressful time for a family.

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney: Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare. We recommend arranging both types because they cover different matters.

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

The Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives someone the legal ability to make important decisions about their money and property. Without this in place, the Court would appoint a deputy to manage your financial affairs.

Before the Courts appoint a deputy, your bank accounts will be frozen. Your family or friends wouldn’t be able to access or pay your mortgage or household bills. If your family needed to sell your property to pay for your medical treatment or care, then this would not be possible. Therefore, arranging this type of LPA enables those you trust to manage your finances and any matters relating to your home.

Health and Welfare LPA

The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives someone you choose the legal ability to make decisions about your health and social care. Similar to the previous LPA, without one in place, the Court may appoint a deputy to manage your welfare.

Even if a deputy is appointed, your loved ones might not agree on the decisions made about your care needs. The absence of an LPA means that you won’t have control over your medical treatment, care home choices, or daily routines. Therefore, arranging this type of LPA ensures that those you trust will be allowed to manage your health and social care.

 “77% of the over 55s have not registered either type of LPA” – Canada Life

Control over future care planning

It’s worth noting that anyone at any age can lose mental capacity. People can suffer a stroke, heart attack, or experience a life-changing incident that causes this type of loss. But inevitably, this risk increases as you get older. Without Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place, you won’t have any control over what happens to you if you were to lose capacity.

Dementia is the leading reason for the loss of mental capacity in the UK. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s can also affect people at a younger age too, such as ‘early onset’ sufferers. So, if you want your family to have a choice over your care and any medical-related matters, it’s crucial to arrange LPAs.

“(In the UK) the number of people with dementia is estimated at 850,000.” – NHS

Financial Advisers, Nottingham and Lincoln

Getting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place is vital if you want to have control over your healthcare and financial affairs if the worst happens. Without these in place, your family wouldn’t be able to make important decisions about your life should you lose capacity.

Our financial planners can help you arrange both types of Lasting Power of Attorney. It’s our aim to help you secure your financial affairs and your lifestyle, so you can enjoy your wealth.

If you need to arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney, get in touch to speak to our financial planning team.